How & Why Use Nyjer Seed to Feed Birds

Nyjer seed is a tiny black seed that gardeners and bird watch enthusiasts use to attract the gold finch into their garden. Nyjer seed is eaten by the gold finch while other common garden birds such as blackbirds, sparrows and blue tits won’t go near it. Another great thing is that squirrels won’t eat it either so this means whatever Nyjer Seed you leave out will be almost exclusively eaten by the gold finch.

There are a few things to consider if you intend on feed Nyjer seed to your birds. The first is to know that if the seeds are left out too long they won’t be eaten by the birds and will only go to waste


Nyjer seed that has become overly wet or soggy is generally left in the feeder and will need to be replaced by fresh seeds. Also Nyjer seed that has gone mouldy should not be fed to birds are it can spread disease.

If you intend on feeding your goldfinches for the first time then it is advised that you start with only a small amount in your feeder. Maybe fill the feeder up by one third the first time around. This will give the gold finches enough time to come and investigate their newly found food source and go and inform others of the bounty that you have bestowed them.

I have found however that you could be waiting quite a while before any gold finch make an appearance. And if you find yourself in a similar situation there are a few things that you could try doing:

First you should try moving your feeder to a new location. Move your feeder around the garden every few weeks until the birds start to arrive. Once they arrive and find your feeder you won’t need to move it again. When choosing a location for your feeder make sure you place it at a safe height off the ground – out of reach of cats and dogs. Place the feeder is a secure location this is somewhat sheltered but not completely hidden. And lastly make sure that there are no bright objects or shiny garden ornaments close to the Nyjer seed feeder as these may scare your birds away.

Planting sunflowers is also a great way to attract all wild birds as well as the goldfinch into the garden. Once the flowers have faded the birds will come to feed on the sunflowers seed heads which are full of nutritious and a favourite food source for birds.

If all this fails to bring these wild birds into your garden then you can call on a local bird watch enthusiast who can bring their own goldfinch into your garden where the bird will sing to call out and attract finches into your garden. Once there the goldfinch will happily return to feast on your freshly topped up nyjer seed feeders