American goldfinches at nyjer seedbag

American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis).


In several previous bird posts, I have been pretty positive that black oil sunflower seed and suet were the only bird foods I needed to keep my feeder birds happy. Then, on an impulse the other day, I bought a nyjer seedbag. As you can see, the American goldfinches like the nyjer seed, as is so often reported in bird literature, but they like the black oil sunflower seed next feeder over as well.


Many American goldfinches, as well as house finches, are coming to the feeders now. I can’t say that the house finches are equally excited about the nyjer seed, although they are supposed to be. It seems to me that they still tend more toward the black oil sunflower seed.

Nyjer is the seed of the African yellow daisy (Guizotia abyssinica), according to Melissa Mayntz online at The name nyjer is a made-up name by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry to make pronunciation easier and to distinguish the imported nyjer seed from thistle seed.

Nyjer seed is sterilized to prevent germination of any seed that may be present in the birdseed. Although finches are supposed to be crazy about nyjer, the finches at my feeders seem equally interested in black oil sunflower seed. Guess I said that before.

All in all, I’m sorry for my impulse buying of nyjer. It’s a small seedbag. I will leave it up but will not buy another one when this one is gone. When black oil sunflower seed feeds so many birds so well, why buy expensive imported seed that has to be sterilized and may still contain invasive plant seeds. Really.


About the American goldfinches at the feeders now. The males will change color to their stunning bright yellow as spring progresses. I would like to say that the goldfinch in the photo above is a male turning color, but this goldfinch doesn’t have a black cap or white wing bars, so it must be a female. The brighter yellow coloring may be due to the sunshine in this photo.

This American goldfinch is having some black oil sunflower seed along with a male house sparrow. The house sparrows weren’t coming to the feeders during the frigid March weather. Many birds are coming back to the feeders now who were absent during the coldest weather.

This is the last full week of March. Hoping for some spring-like weather this week.

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