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.