The American Goldfinch is a bird that can be found in Southeastern Michigan throughout the year. Attracting them to feeders in your yard includes offering fresh seed. Goldfinches prefer Nyjer (formerly known as thistle) and sunflower seed. When offering either of these seeds, freshness is key.
Nyjer is grown in Nigeria and Ethipoia and is heat sterilized before being imported into the United States. This kills noxious weed seeds that could germinate once they fell to the ground. Sometimes, over-heating causes the Nyjer to become dried out, similar to what can happen when a coffee bean is roasted. When this happens, Goldfinches will turn up their beaks at the seed.
Old seed will lose its’ oil content and will also be ignored by Goldfinches as well as other finches. Check for freshness by looking for black, shiny seed. If a package contains brown seed, that’s an indicator that the seed is old and dry.
When purchasing seed, make sure you buy only enough to last you a month. Keep it stored in an airtight container.
Use a weather guard over your finch feeder to prevent moisture from entering the feeder. Feeder fresh is a product that can be added to seed to keep moisture from affecting the seed. This compound is non-toxic, inert and chemically similar to sand. Once it absorbs its’ own weight in water it will discontinue absorbing and be identical to the sand grit that birds normally ingest.
If seed that you are using has become clumped or moldy, make sure that you thoroughly clean the feeder with a soap and water solution and sterilize the feeder in one part bleach or vinegar to ten parts water. Rinse and let air dry completely before refilling with fresh seed.
Enjoy your birds!
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