Cleaning My Feeder
Spring 2014 is on the way and I want to see goldfinches eating nyjer seed again. So after a wet winter I have cleaned my bird feeders. I’ve only had a Nyjer Seed feeder for two years and have kept it out during both winters. I might not do that next winter since the rain soaks into them through the feeding holes and ruins the Nyjer seeds below the top perches of the feeder. Some start to grow, the rest rot and go mouldy. Any goldfinches that come along can’t eat the seed and in the end it’s just wasted. Above the perches it stays dry so it can be salvaged. In my case I separated the good seed and made sure it was dry by spreading it out on a dustpan in the sunshine.
I completely dismantled my feeders for mixed seed and nyjer seed and washed all the parts in soapy water and then reassembled them when dry.
Removing The Nyjer Seed Feeder in Winter
Goldfinches enjoy sunflower hearts in the winter along with many other birds. They get eaten quickly and don’t have time to get messy. So I won’t worry about the goldfinches starving if I take my Nyjer seed feeder away.
Method of Checking for Goldfinches Eating Nyjer Seed
Since I have re-established my Nyjer seed feeder I would like to know if there are any goldfinches feeding on the seed. I am not always around to see if birds are eating the Nyjer seed so I have to work out if the seed level is going down. In the summer it only takes a couple of days to see the seed level go down two centimetres. At this time of year (March) there are not many goldfinches around. I could mark a line on the feeder but I have noticed that after I have poured seed into the feeder the surface at the top of the seed is flat. Then when birds feed the seed dips down immediately above the perches where the feeding holes are and the seed changes from lying horizontally in the feeder to a vertical attitude as it slides down to the holes.
You can see in the image below this dipping down at the surface of the seed marked out with a red line drawn on the image. You can also see the change in angle of the seed grains as they move down towards the holes:
There is another sign of feeding. I added plastic rings to my Nyjer seed feeder perches. They enable goldfinches to face the holes in the feeder. When they feed they pull seeds out which are not eaten. Those, plus husks, build up on a flat part of the rings immediately below the feeding holes. I have noticed such a build up.
So my conclusion is: There ARE goldfinches eating Nyjer seed from my feeder.
Here is my previous article Goldfinches Feeding In My Garden from 2012.