If you enjoy goldfinches and happen to feed thistle or nyjer seed to attract them, there’s more you can do to accommodate these little songbirds. Adding nesting material near your thistle bird feeders will entice them to nest nearby. This means a good chnace of seeing more finches and especially fledglings. Although Goldfinches don’t use birdhouses, they will nest in hedges or trees. They are the latest songbird to nest and breed with their season running from June to September. (So there’s still time).
The House Finch, who also feasts at thistle feeders, has 1 to 3 broods per year, so they stay pretty busy building their nests – which can be found just about anywhere. Check the Boston Ferns on your front porch before drenching them with water!
Commercial nesting materials are available, but you can make your own fairly easily. Using a mesh bag (from the produce section of the grocery store) start collecting dryer lint, yarn strings, pet hair, moss, and small twigs. Gather materials and tie off bag to hang from a tree branch. Your birds will be grateful for the easy pickings!
The American Goldfinch is adored by many backyard birders, mostly for their vibrant yellow plumage and sweet song. With a gentle disposition, they tend to shy away from a crowded thistle feeder, whereas most birds become aggressive and fight for food.
You can alleviate this problem by adding extra feeders. With the use of thistle, or nyjer socks, it is very inexpensive and effective to accommodate more finches. The thistle socks are available in different sizes, and best of all, cost only a few dollars (usually under $5.00). No cleaning required, basically they are meant to be disposable after becoming worn or tattered.
They allow for cling-type, all over feeding as opposed to perches, so the whole feeder is actual feeding space. Thistle socks are available in white mesh, black, even festive holiday colors! Eliminate the competition for food and attract more Goldfinches with the use of this innovative thistle feeder.
If you adore the vibrant yellow plumage of Goldfinches, it’s best to keep thistle feeders out year round. Thistle seed, also called nyjer is enjoyed not only by Goldfiches, but Indigo Buntings and Pine Siskins relish this seed too. One of the benefits of thistle is that it will not germinate, so there are no worries of sprouting weeds below your feeder. Another is that Goldfinches will sit at your feeder pecking seed after seed (to feed their brood) so it’s easy to view the charming songbirds. Both their song and disposition make the American Goldfinch a favorite among many backyard birders.
A common drawback to the very long, tubular style thistle feeders is that seed gets compacted at the bottom and tends to draw moisture if always filled from the top. Some feeders can be filled from the top or bottom. Remember to dump old seed and keep feeders clean. The three-tube thistle feeders also tend to distribute the seed more evenly, thus eliminating the problem of packed seed at the bottom.
The war with squirrels! We’ve all been there and have spent so much time and effort trying to outsmart the furry critters. There’s even been books written on the subject. If you enjoy backyard birding, you’re likely all too familiar with this scenario. There are hundreds of squirrel proof feeders on the market today, and some work better than others. Many claim to be a squirrel proof bird feeder, but they just don’t stand up to the promise.
Some reputable manufacturers of these feeders include Droll Yankee and Duncraft, they have perfected the science! The Twirl-A Squirrel is also a popular item in deterring squirrels, as they can’t hang on to steal the seed, and soon give up. It’s hilarious to watch and very effective too. If you’re tired of the war with squirrels, a good squirrel proof bird feeder might be the answer,
In my yard there are probably too many bird feeders, and definitely too many squirrels! I don’t mind feeding the squirrels too, but I used to cringe when they managed to empty a bird feeder. Over the years I have learned the importance of baffles. Squirrel baffles, when used properly work very well to keep pesky critters from raiding birdseed. By using them, you can create squirrel proof bird feeders that really work – for minimal cost and maximum performance.
The thing to remember, is a squirrel’s ability to jump eight feet sideways and four feet high. The baffles must not be placed too close to any possible “launch sites” for squirrels. Nor can they be too close to the ground. If your feeder is hanging, the baffle would be above, its circumference being one-third larger than the feeder. If there is a pole mounted feeder, the baffle would need to be placed below the feeder, at least four feet from the ground. With a little bit of effort and minimal cost, you can save money on seed, and save yourself much aggravation!