Nyjer seed – also commonly known as niger or thistle seed – is popular with many backyard bird species. Knowing which birds eat Nyjer can help birders choose the best birdseed and appropriate feeders for their backyard flock.
Nyjer is a small, black seed from the African yellow daisy (Guizotia abyssinica). High in oil, it is a nutritious source of energy for backyard birds and is one of the most popular types of birdseed. It is an expensive seed, however, and many backyard birders prefer to offer Nyjer in limited quantities, such as choosing specialized feeders to ensure the seed is not accidentally spilled and wasted. Nyjer is also often found in finch mix or canary birdseed blends, often with sunflower chips or small millet seeds that also appeal to the birds that eat Nyjer.
Bird Species That Eat Nyjer
Birds that prefer Nyjer are seed-eating species, typically with small, pointed bills that can easily manipulate such tiny seeds. Many Nyjer-loving birds are also called clinging birds because of their habit of acrobatically clinging to the sides of feeders rather than perching while feeding, and many of them can even eat upside down – habits that help them feed on the natural seeds of flowers. Still other bird species that feed on Nyjer are ground-feeding birds that will forage beneath specialized Nyjer feeders.
The most popular birds that eat Nyjer include…
- American goldfinches
- California quail
- Common redpolls
- Dark-eyed juncos
- European goldfinches
- Hoary redpolls
- House finches
- Indigo buntings
- Lesser goldfinches
- Mourning doves
- Pine siskins
- Purple finches
- Song sparrows
Nyjer is a popular seed with many other finches, sparrows, doves, towhees, quail and buntings, and even unexpected birds may try a bite of Nyjer when it is offered.
Attracting Birds With Nyjer
To attract birds by offering Nyjer, select appropriate Nyjer feeders that have small mesh or tiny feeding ports to release the seed without spilling. Birders who have not offered Nyjer before may choose mixed seed that includes Nyjer first to help the birds get accustomed to the new seed. Tricks to attract birds to a new feeder can also be useful for introducing birds to Nyjer.
There are many birds that eat Nyjer, and adding this nutritious, high-energy seed to a backyard buffet can attract a range of finches, sparrows and other seed-loving birds.
Photo – American Goldfinches Eating Nyjer © Sandysphotos2009