Niger seed

The goldfinches have been enjoying the seed I have put out for them. Goldfinches have always passed through the garden, often stopping by the birdbath for a couple of sips before continuing their journey. Usually in pairs. Since I put the niger seed feeder up there have been many more goldfinches. Up to a dozen at one time, fighting for position on the feeder or just eating the spill on the ground.

Since I started feeding the goldfinches (and it is only really goldfinches and siskins who will feed from the special feeder) I have had to move the feeder. They are such messy eaters that they spill far more than they eat. The original position was starting to have a mound of niger seed beneath it. Time to more it. It was moved to the other side of the garden. Again they are messy feeders and I was tempted to put the niger feeder to hang over the flower beds so I could just dig the overspill seed into the ground.

Ha! But all has now changed. When filling the feeder the other evening I noticed that there was a lot of broad-leaf weed growing in the lawn, all of it directly below the niger feeder. In fact it was a circle of weed where the seed had fallen. So, this isn’t the best quality niger seed. The top quality stuff is actually called nyjer seed and is trade marked – this seed is heat treated to ensure it can’t germinate. Other seed is sold, especially in this country as niger or thistle seed. Thistle is completely different from nyjer. A totally different plant. I have now had a close look at the niger seed I have and I must admit it does rather look like thistle. So, once the goldfinches have finished the current supplies there will be no more. Goldfinches will have to find their food elsewhere, though they will be welcome to share the nuts with the tits and greenfinches, and to get a drink. But no more niger. I shall be putting the weedkiller down shortly before the weed gets too firm a grip on the lawn.


2 Responses to “Niger seed”

  1. I have this problem too, but won’t stop feeding the goldfinches as they are so pretty. I hadn’t thought of putting weedkiller on the spillage but may do so now.

  2. The goldfinches are pretty, if only they weren’t such messy eaters. The seed they were spilling was forming a mound on the ground, which did allow more of them to feed at once, but it was driving me mad. The goldfinches still come into the garden, just to drink though. The recovery of the lawn continues…

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