Wishing you and yours a very happy and healthy New Year!
Pick a new feeder for the new year, something you’ve not tried before. Thistle, or nyjer seed is unlike traditional birdseed and will attract different songbirds for your enjoyment. Not only Goldfinches, Buntings, Towhees, Juncos, and Pine Siskins will frequent nyjer feeders throughout the winter, if native to your area. Another advantage of nyjer is that it will not germinate. So there are never any worries of weeds spouting below feeders, weather in the yard or in the flower beds. Squirrels and raccoons generally don’t like thistle either, and usually will not bother these feeders.
Part of the healthy for the new year…please think of your feathered friends and responsible backyard birding. Keeping bird feeders clean, and free of damp and moldy seed is paramount if you are attracting wild birds to your yard. Feeders should be cleaned at least once a month with a 10% bleach solution and rinsed thoroughly. Diseases are spread easily among high traffic areas where many birds congregate. The ground should also be kept clean of spilled seed and droppings, picked up at least weekly.
Happy Birding, and Happy New Year!
Of all the finch species, Goldfinches are the only ones who can comfortably perch and eat seed after seed in this fashion. The upside down feeder was developed to accommodate American Goldfinches only, and lessen the competition around the finch bird feeder by House and Purple Finches.
Many finches would rather give up and fly away than compete around a busy thistle feeder. There’s an economical way you can accommodate lots of finches with the use of thistle sacks, or nyjer stockings. Made of durable nylon mesh, with some type of draw cord or string closure, the whole surface of the sack serves as feeding or perching space. For just a few dollars per sack, you can hang multiple thistle feeders around the yard and eliminate the competition around your thistle feeders.
Shelter, in the form of mature trees, brush, and thickets will add to birds’ preferred habitat, while water in the form of a bird bath, stream or pond will complete it. Attract and keep more birds around your yard with food, water and shelter!
Obama Administration Blasted for Secret Holiday Roundup of Thousands of Wild Horses in Nevada
Roundup Begins Today Despite Federal Court Advice, Pending Federal Environmental Complaints and Violation of BLM Promise for Public Transparency
Washington, DC (December 28, 2009) .. . . Public outrage is increasing as the Obama Administration proceeds with a controversial Christmas week roundup of thousands of wild Nevada mustangs despite a federal court’s suggestion last week that the action be postponed.
Today, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will commence the cruel wild horse capture in secret, on private lands where the public will be barred from observing the treatment of the horses. In response, In Defense of Animals (IDA) today released video of BLM chief Don Glenn, stating on December 7 that “All of our gathers are open to the public; the public is invited to watch all the time.”
Just a day before Glenn made that statement, the BLM completed the roundup of 217 horses on the California/Nevada border, an action that was taken illegally with no public notification. Two weeks later, the BLM denied a request by an IDA observer to witness a helicopter stampede of horses living in the Palomino Buttes area in Eastern Oregon, stating “no observers would be allowed or welcome at this roundup.”
“Directly counter to the spirit of the Obama Administration’s promise of transparency, the President is allowing the BLM to secretly begin the roundup of thousands of wild horses living peacefully on more than one-half million acres of public lands in Nevada,” said Elliot M. Katz, DVM, IDA president. “This roundup will commence out of view of the public during a holiday week when government officials are off on holiday and have been unable to address complaints and a formal Motion to Stay (stop) the roundup. This action reflects very poorly on the BLM and most of all on the Obama Administration.”
In a December 23, 2009 decision, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman said that the BLM’s plans to stockpile these horses in Midwestern holding facilities is likely illegal, and consequently suggested that BLM postpone the Calico gather. That ruling, combined with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) violations cited in IDA’s complaints to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Interior Department, should warrant President Obama’s intervention to stop this roundup immediately, IDA said.
Judge Friedman’s decision was made in response to a federal lawsuit filed by IDA, ecologist Craig Downer and noted children’s writer Terri Farley to halt the roundup, which involves a helicopter stampede and capture of 2,700 horses in the more than 500,000-acre Calico Mountains Complex in northwestern Nevada. The horses will be traumatized, terrorized, and many will be injured and/or killed. Foals and their mothers will be separated and horse family bands will be shattered forever
In a 2008 report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the BLM was not transparent with the public about how horses are treated under its Wild Horse and Burro management program.
“For America’s wild horses, President Obama’s promise of change rings hollow,” said IDA president Elliot M. Katz, DVM. “His administration has continued the same secretive and destructive Bush Administration war on the wild horses of the American West.”
IDA said that wild horses are removed for the benefit of private livestock owners and other extractive users of public lands. Despite a Congressional mandate to protect wild horses in the Calico Complex, the BLM has in recent times increased the number of cattle to run on the same public lands where they are removing wild horses. The BLM ignores its federal mandate to remove livestock from federal wild horse management areas “if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury” (43 CFR § 4710.5).
If the Administration continues its current course, it will capture and remove nearly 12,000 wild horses a year from their native Western homes for the next three years, after which time the number of horses in Midwestern holding facilities will number more than 50,000 and far exceed those left on the range.
Suzanne Roy, Program Director, In Defense of Animals
Eric Kleiman, Research Director, In Defense of Animals
In Defense of Animals is an international animal protection organization located in San Rafael, Calif. dedicated to protecting animals’ rights, welfare, and habitat through education, outreach, and our hands-on rescue facilities in Mumbai, India, Cameroon, Africa, and rural Mississippi.
IN DEFENSE OF ANIMALS · 3010 KERNER BLVD. · SAN RAFAEL, CA 94901 · 415-448-0048
Thistle seed, also known as nyjer, is a great way to attract more species of wild birds to your yard. Best know for feeding finches, other species enjoy this versatile seed as well. Shown above, Indigo Buntings are perched at this feeder. Guess they don’t mind that it’s really meant for finches? Juncos and Towhees can also be seen at finch bird feeders, as well as Pine Siskins. By adding finely chopped sunflower hearts or meats, you’ll attract these species easily if they are native to your geographic area.
The other great thing with finch bird feeders, is that thistle seed will not germinate. No messy weeds to sprout below feeders in the garden or yard. Thistle is coveted for its high fat and protein content, and is eaten almost exclusively by Goldfinches. They will perch at the feeder, eating seed after seed then carry off their prize to the nestlings. The babies eat the exact same diet as their adult parents, so these feeders make for an excellent birder’s observation.
As always, a fresh water source will draw more birds into your yard than feeders alone, so be sure to have some type of bird bath available year-round. And remember, Goldfinches aren’t yellow all year, so don’t think they’re not around. Winter weather brings a dull brownish-green plumage, as it is the warmer months of spring and summer that show the vibrant yellow plumage.
Here’s what to do next: Go out and buy some thistle seed, also called nyjer seed, and fill that finch feeder immediately! The best way to attract the American Goldfinch is to feed thistle year-round. Although the birds wear a rather drab color plumage during winter months, their vibrant, lemon yellow color is a site to behold during warmer months.
They’ve earned the nickname “wild canary” but as their nesting season winds down and fall colors appear, they will molt. This process replaces worn, tattered feathers with a set of new, fresh feathers.
Goldfinches are admired for their gentle disposition, and sweet song. Thistle seed, which is high in fat and protein is also enjoyed by House and Purple Finches, Towhees, Pine Siskins, Juncos, and Buntings. So if your desire is vibrant summer color…keep your new finch feeder filled year-round!