what birds eat nyjer seed

Birds That Eat Nyjer Seed: Backyard Favorites

Nyjer seed, often called “black gold,” is a top choice for bird lovers. It brings in up to 20 species of birds to your yard. This seed comes from the African yellow daisy and is loved by finches, sparrows, and other songbirds. It’s so popular that it can make up half of a bird’s winter diet, especially for American Goldfinches.

Nyjer seed is a hit because it’s packed with great nutrients. It’s full of oil and calories, giving much-needed energy to birds like finches and siskins. So, if you want to see American Goldfinches, House Finches, or Pine Siskins in your yard, use nyjer seed. It’s a must for any bird-feeding setup.

Key Takeaways

  • Nyjer seed, also known as “black gold,” is a favorite food source for a wide variety of backyard birds, especially finches and songbirds.
  • The high oil and calorie content of nyjer seed makes it an essential energy source for small, active birds like American Goldfinches, House Finches, and Pine Siskins.
  • Nyjer seed can make up to 50% of a bird’s diet during the winter months, providing critical nourishment during the leanest seasons.
  • Offering nyjer seed in your backyard is a surefire way to attract a vibrant and diverse array of feathered visitors.
  • Proper feeder selection and maintenance are key to ensuring nyjer seed remains a reliable and appealing food source for your backyard birds.

What is Nyjer Seed?

Understanding the Nature of Nyjer Seed

Nyjer seed comes from the African yellow daisy. It’s small, black, and full of oil. Although called “thistle seed,” it has no relation to the thistle plant. The seeds are sourced from northern Africa. They go through a process to avoid causing problems in new places.

Birds love nyjer seed for its oil content. This makes it a perfect snack for them. Birds such as goldfinches, siskins, and buntings enjoy it since they can easily eat it with their small beaks.

  • Nyjer seeds last about 4 weeks before the oil starts to dry out.
  • Some bird species, such as Woodpeckers, Thrushes, and Chickadees, may give nyjer seeds a try but do not consider it a favorite.
  • Smaller, pointed bill birds are more likely to eat nyjer seeds, including Buntings, Redpolls, Doves, Finches (American Goldfinches, European Finches, House Finches, and Purple Finches), Pine Siskins, Quail, and Towhees.

“Nyjer seed is rich in oil, providing birds with essential energy needed for flying long distances.”

Nyjer seed attracts many small songbirds to yards. This makes it a top pick for bird watchers.

The Attraction of Nyjer Seed for Birds

Nyjer seed, also called niger seed, is a top choice for backyard bird lovers. Birds love it for many reasons, especially its high oil content. This gives them lots of energy and important nutrients. The tiny size of the seed makes it perfect for birds with small beaks. They can easily eat and get the benefits.

During winter, nyjer seed’s high calories help birds a lot. Cold weather means they need more energy to stay warm and find food. Nyjer seed’s oil helps them keep the fat they need to survive.

Besides being nutritious, birds find nyjer seed everywhere in North America. This makes it an easy and popular food choice. It appeals to many bird types, from small finches to big doves.

Key Benefits of Nyjer Seed for Birds Nutritional Breakdown per 100g
  • High oil content for energy and nutrition
  • Small size suitable for birds with delicate bills
  • Excellent winter food to maintain energy levels
  • Widely available in bird feeders
  • Attracts a diverse range of bird species
  • 515 calories
  • 39g of fat
  • 11g of fiber
  • 24g of protein
  • 300% of recommended daily calcium intake
  • 57% of recommended daily iron intake

Birds really like nyjer seed for its great nutrition and easy availability. Whether you’re into bird watching or just enjoy the visitors outside, using this seed can bring lots of birds to your yard. It’s a small step that welcomes many different kinds of birds.

why birds love nyjer seed

“Nyjer seed is a true winter powerhouse, providing birds with the high-energy nourishment they need to thrive in the colder months.”

The Unique Appeal of Nyjer Seed

Nyjer seed is different from other bird feeds. It’s small and black but very high in oils and fats. This means it’s a great energy source for birds. Also, these tiny seeds are easy for small-beaked birds to eat, inviting more types of birds to your yard.

But what makes nyjer seed really stand out is where it comes from. It’s not from the usual North American plants. Instead, nyjer seeds are from the African yellow daisy.This exotic origin makes nyjer seeds a special treat for backyard birds. It’s why bird lovers everywhere see it as a favorite.

“Nyjer seed is a unique and highly attractive food source for a variety of small songbirds, particularly finches and chickadees. Its high oil content and diminutive size make it an ideal energy-rich treat that many birds eagerly seek out.”

Nyjer seed truly is a favored bird feed. Its unique qualities and the fact that it comes from far away make it special. Birdwatchers and nature lovers love seeing nyjer seed attract a diverse array of birds to their spaces.

what birds eat nyjer seed

Many backyard birds love nyjer seed. They have small, pointed bills perfect for these tiny seeds. This makes various finch species, like the American Goldfinch, House Finch, and Purple Finch, big fans. Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls also enjoy nyjer seed, gathering in groups at feeders.

Other than finches, birds such as Indigo Buntings and Spotted Towhees feed on nyjer seeds. Even Mourning Doves, Downy Woodpeckers, and Black-capped Chickadees take a liking to them. These birds may not love nyjer as much as finches do. But, they see it as a tasty energy boost for their diets.

Bird Species Affinity for Nyjer Seed
American Goldfinch Highly attracted, a frequent visitor to nyjer feeders
House Finch Drawn to nyjer seed, often forms flocks at feeders
Purple Finch Enthusiastic consumer of nyjer, particularly in winter
Pine Siskin Readily eats nyjer, sometimes in large numbers
Common Redpoll Loves nyjer seed, especially during migration and winter
Indigo Bunting Enjoys nyjer as part of a varied diet
Spotted Towhee Occasionally feeds on nyjer seed on the ground
Mourning Dove Will partake in nyjer seed, though not a primary food source
Downy Woodpecker May sample nyjer seed, but not a dominant consumer
Black-capped Chickadee Shown to sometimes feed on nyjer, but prefers other seeds

Gathering knowledge about birds that like nyjer seed helps attract more birds. This makes the feeding area a hub for different types of birds.

birds that eat nyjer seed

Serving Nyjer Seed to Backyard Birds

When feeding your birds, the feeder you pick matters a lot. Nyjer seed needs special feeders due to its small size and oiliness. The best feeders for Nyjer seed are Nyjer seed feeders and finch tube feeders.

The Right Feeder for Nyjer Seed

Special Nyjer seed feeders, like finch tube feeders or finch sock feeders, have small openings. These help the birds get to the seeds easily while reducing waste. They are key for a mess-free nyjer seed experience.

Using a regular bird feeder for nyjer seed isn’t the best idea. Nyjer seeds can fall out of large openings, making a big mess. The right feeder is key to letting your backyard birds enjoy nyjer seed without troubles.

  • Nyjer seed feeders are designed with small, specialized openings to prevent seed spillage.
  • Finch tube feeders and finch sock feeders are also great options for serving nyjer seed.
  • Avoid using a standard bird feeder for nyjer seed, as the small seeds can easily fall through larger openings.

“Picking the correct feeder lets your birds enjoy Nyjer seed with no mess or waste.”

Choosing the right feeder for Nyjer seed makes feeding your backyard birds easier and cleaner. The right equipment ensures you and your birds have a good experience with Nyjer seed.

Ensuring Freshness of Nyjer Seed

Making sure nyjer seed stays fresh is key. It keeps your backyard birds coming back for more. Nyjer seed lasts about 4 weeks before its oils dry up. To check if it’s still fresh, crush a few seeds on a paper towel. If you see oil stains, the seeds are fine. If they look dull and dry, they are stale and should be swapped out.

Don’t let nyjer seed get wet. Moisture makes it spoil faster. Keep an eye on your seed to ensure it’s always fresh. This way, your birds will get top-quality food all the time.

  • Look for oil stains on a paper towel when crushing nyjer seed to check for freshness
  • Dull, dry seeds indicate the nyjer seed has gone stale and should be replaced
  • Protect nyjer seed from moisture to prevent it from spoiling prematurely

nyjer seed

Keeping nyjer seed fresh is both simple and vital. Doing so helps create a beautiful space for finches, siskins, and other songbirds. By replacing stale seed, you invite these birds to your yard with a nutritious meal.

Attracting a Variety of Songbirds

Nyjer seed attracts many songbirds like finches, sparrows, and buntings. Its high energy and nutrients are loved by different bird species. So, it’s a great choice for anyone who loves birdwatching.

80% of backyard songbirds enjoy nyjer seed. It’s the main food for birds in many places, accounting for over 60% of their diet. This shows how much they love it.

Nyjer seed brings in more than finches. It also attracts Pine Siskins, Redpolls, Doves, Towhees, Woodpeckers, Thrushes, and Chickadees. Up to 15 different species can visit a feeder in one day.

With nyjer seed, your backyard will be full of color and life. Birds will come often to eat this special food. Some might even come several times a day.

The Diverse Appeal of Nyjer Seed

Nyjer seeds are not just nutritious. They are easy for birds to eat. Their size and shape are perfect for a wide range of species.

  • Nyjer seeds are high in oil, making them a great energy source, especially in winter.
  • Birds love the taste and texture of nyjer seed, attracting many types of feathered friends.
  • Its small size lets birds pick up and save seeds for later, which they really like.

“Nyjer seed is like a superfood for songbirds, packed with the nutrients and energy they need to thrive in our backyards. It’s no wonder we see such a diverse array of feathered visitors flocking to our feeders when we offer this specialized treat.”

Knowing what birds like nyjer seed can enhance your birdwatching experience. You’ll see more and different kinds of birds, making your garden lively and beautiful.

Combining Nyjer Seed with Other Bird Foods

Being a favorite among many birds, nyjer seed works well mixed with other feeds. By doing this, you provide a better, balanced meal. Surveys show that up to 75% of backyard birds prefer nyjer seed over other common bird foods. Adding more bird feed types attracts different bird species. It meets their specific food needs.

Valley Farms Hearty Delight Blend is one example. It mixes nyjer seed with sunflower hearts, millet, and peanut kernels. This mix gives birds various nutrients and energy. It helps them stay healthy and active.

Certain birds, like American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins, really love nyjer. They eat it up to 50% more than other everyday birds. Mixing nyjer seed with other feeds draws a wider range of birds. This includes those who wouldn’t normally come for just nyjer seed.

Bird Species Nyjer Seed Consumption Rate Preference for Nyjer Seed over Other Foods
American Goldfinch 50% High
Pine Siskin 45% High
House Finch 35% Moderate
Black-capped Chickadee 25% Low

Mixing nyjer seed with quality bird food makes your yard a popular spot for birds. It caters to the needs of many bird species. This method increases the kinds of birds you see. And it makes sure they get all the nutrients they need.

Nyjer seed mixed with other bird foods

Placement Strategies for Nyjer Feeders

When setting up nyjer seed feeders, think about where to place them. This makes sure birds come often and you enjoy watching them. Experts say it’s best not to put nyjer feeders close to other bird feeders. This lowers competition. It lets the smaller birds, like finches and siskins, eat without bigger birds scaring them off.

It’s also smart to put the feeder in a wide, clear area. This way, birds can watch for danger while you watch them. Place the nyjer feeder near bushes or trees. These give birds places to hide and relax. But, make sure you can still clearly see them. This is perfect for watching birds.

Optimal Positioning for Bird Viewing

For the best bird-watching, put the nyjer feeder where you can see it well. This might be by a window or on a porch. Then, you can watch birds easily from inside. Placing the feeder just right lets you enjoy the bright colors and fun antics of the birds.

Feeder Placement Factors Recommended Strategies
Distance from Other Feeders Position nyjer feeders at least 10 feet away from other bird feeders to reduce competition.
Visibility and Accessibility Place nyjer feeders in open, unobstructed areas with clear sightlines for both birds and bird-watchers.
Proximity to Cover Situate nyjer feeders near shrubs or trees to provide nearby refuge for birds, while maintaining an unobstructed view.
Feeder Type Use mesh or sock-style nyjer feeders to minimize seed waste and attract the target bird species.

Choosing the right spot for your nyjer feeder is key. It can turn your backyard into a bird haven. This makes a great spot for finches, siskins, and other small birds. Plus, you get to enjoy watching them. You’ll find your feathered friends love the nyjer seeds they find in the feeder.

Regional Considerations for Nyjer Seed

The availability and popularity of nyjer seed differs across the U.S. As a non-native plant, its use by bird enthusiasts varies. This variation depends on the region.

In areas like the Northeast and Northwest, nyjer seed is very popular. Many finches and songbirds love it. Studies show that up to 75% of backyard birders in these regions use nyjer seed often.

The time of year and bird migration affect nyjer seed use too. In the Midwest and Southeast, spring and fall see lots of birds eating nyjer seed. This is because these areas are important in bird migration.

Knowing about nyjer seed in your region helps. It ensures you’re offering the best food for your local birds. This way, bird enthusiasts can attract many types of birds and make the most of nyjer seed.

nyjer seed availability by region

“Offering the right bird food at the right time is key to creating a thriving backyard habitat. Regional considerations for nyjer seed can make all the difference in meeting the unique needs of local bird communities.”

Nyjer Seed and Bird Migration Patterns

As seasons change, the availability of nyjer seed is crucial for some bird species’ flight times. Birds like the American Goldfinch and Pine Siskin fly to new places when seasons change. Offering nyjer seed at the right time can attract them to backyard feeders.

Knowing when these birds will arrive helps bird lovers plan. By putting out nyjer seed then, you ensure they get a needed high-energy boost. This helps them fly long distances.

In the fall, many birds eat a lot to get ready for their journey. Nyjer seed is great because it’s rich in fat and energy. It’s a top food option for birds flying south for winter.

Bird Species Favorite Foods
American Goldfinch Nyjer seed, black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, millet, cracked corn, peanuts
Pine Siskin Nyjer seed, black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, millet, cracked corn, peanuts
Purple Finch Nyjer seed, black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, millet, cracked corn, peanuts
House Finch Nyjer seed, black oil sunflower, sunflower hearts & chips, millet, cracked corn, peanuts

Watching migration patterns closely can up the game for nyjer seed use. It ensures birds find food easily as they travel between homes. This journey can take them from where they breed to where they spend the winter.

Smart timing with nyjer seed really helps migrating birds do well. It supports their journey each season. Knowing when to offer nyjer seed is key for anyone welcoming birds into their backyard. It’s a simple way to help these birds thrive.

Supplementing Nyjer Seed with Native Plants

Nyjer seed is loved by many backyard birds. However, it’s smart to also include native plants in your yard. They help create a better and greener living space. For instance, native thistles produce seeds similar to nyjer. Finches and other birds love them as much. Planting these types of plants helps the ecosystem. It also gives your birds more food choices. They can find food beyond what’s in their feeders.

Creating a Diverse Backyard Habitat

Nyjer seed and native plants together offer a wide variety for birds. This mix makes your yard more interesting and supports the birds’ health. Native plants work well with nyjer seed. They give birds different foods, materials for nests, and places to hide. This all builds a beautiful and functional home for birds.

  • Native thistles can offer a natural source of thistle-like seeds that finches and other birds find irresistible.
  • Planting native berry-producing shrubs and trees can attract a variety of songbirds, including warblers, thrushes, and cedar waxwings.
  • Native wildflowers can support insect populations, providing a valuable food source for birds, especially during the breeding season when they are feeding their young.

Adding nyjer seed and native plants makes a great spot for birds. It meets their many needs. This way, your garden is not only eye-catching. It’s also good for the environment. And it helps keep your bird friends healthy and happy.

diverse backyard habitat

“Combining nyjer seed and native plants can create a thriving, bird-friendly backyard that supports the local ecosystem and attracts a wider variety of species.”

Responsible Sourcing of Nyjer Seed

Feeding our backyard birds well means finding nyjer seed from places that care about the earth. Nyjer seed, also known as thistle, comes from northern Africa. It’s grown with care there, from the African yellow daisy.

After growing, the nyjer seeds are treated to prevent them from growing where they shouldn’t. This care helps make sure they don’t upset new ecosystems. It keeps nature’s balance in the places they’re shipped to.

If you care about the birds in your yard, buy nyjer seed from trusted sellers. Look for those who handle their seeds responsibly. This way, we help both the birds and the environment they live in.

“Responsible sourcing of nyjer seed is not just about providing high-quality bird food, but also about preserving the natural habitats and communities that make this valuable resource possible.”

Always choose nyjer seeds that have been harvested carefully. Good sellers will share where their seeds come from. They’ll also show how they keep the whole process earth-friendly. This info can help you make a smart choice.

Supporting the right sellers means you can help protect bird habitats. By being mindful, we help the planet. Plus, it makes our bird-watching hobby better for the birds and their homes.

Combining Nyjer Seed with Other Backyard Birding Practices

Nyjer seed is a popular food for birds. It fits well with many other types of bird feed. By adding nyjer seed to your bird feeding strategy, you can attract a wide variety of birds.

Mix nyjer seed with sunflower seeds, millet, and suet. This mix helps bring in many bird species. It also ensures your birds get a healthy diet.

Place your nyjer seed feeders near native plants and water. This makes your backyard more welcoming to birds. By doing this, you can create a bird paradise.

By using nyjer seed, you make a great space for birds. This adds to the joy of seeing them in your yard.

“Nyjer seed is great, but there’s more to do. Combine it with other good foods and add water and plants. Your bird watching will improve a lot.”

nyjer seed backyard bird feeder

Seed Type Attractive Bird Species Feeder Recommendation
Black Oil Sunflower Seed Finch, Cardinal, Chickadee, Woodpecker Hopper or Tube Feeder
Striped Sunflower Seed Cardinal, Chickadee, Grosbeak Hopper or Platform Feeder
Safflower Seed Cardinal, Nuthatch (deters House Sparrows, Starlings) Hopper or Tube Feeder
Nyjer/Thistle Seed Finch, Dove, Sparrow Nyjer or Tube Feeder
Cracked Corn Cardinal, Jay, Sparrow Platform or Ground Feeder
Peanuts Chickadee, Jay, Nuthatch Hopper or Mesh Feeder
Millet Dove, Sparrow, Quail, Cardinal Ground or Platform Feeder
Suet Woodpecker, Nuthatch Suet Feeder

Adding nyjer seed to your bird-friendly setup makes a lively backyard. Using different foods, plants, and water makes it better. Your yard can then be a perfect place for birds and you to enjoy.


Nyjer seed is a favorite choice for many bird lovers. It’s great for attracting different kinds of birds, especially finches and songbirds. These seeds are popular because they’re small and packed with oils that birds need.

To make the most of nyjer seeds, use the right feeder and keep the seeds fresh. Also, place the feeders in spots that birds can easily find. This helps create a welcoming space for them in your yard.

If you add nyjer seeds to your birding plan along with native plants, you’ll see more types of birds. This makes your outdoor area more lively. Knowing how to use nyjer seeds well lets you enjoy the beauty of finches and songbirds in your yard.

This article shows why nyjer seed is a great pick for feeding birds. It shares tips for including it in your feeding setup. Whether you’re new to bird watching or not, nyjer seeds are a smart choice. They help make your birding experience better and support nature in your yard.


What birds eat nyjer seed?

Nyjer seed attracts birds like American Goldfinches, House Finches, and others. Its small size and high energy are a big draw for them.

What is nyjer seed?

Nyjer seed comes from an African yellow daisy. Birds love it for its rich oils that offer essential nutrients.

Why are birds attracted to nyjer seed?

High oil content is key. It’s rich in energy and nutritious. Plus, its small size is perfect for many bird species.

What makes nyjer seed unique?

It’s packed with oils and fats for energy. Its size makes it easy for small birds to eat.

What types of birds eat nyjer seed?

Nyjer seed is a hit with plenty of birds, including finches, Pine Siskins, and Quail.

What type of feeder should I use for nyjer seed?

Use finch tube or mesh sock feeders. They have small openings to prevent spills but let birds get the seed.

How do I know if my nyjer seed is fresh?

Crush some seeds on a paper towel. If you see oil, they’re fresh. If not, they’re stale.

What other types of birds are attracted to nyjer seed?

Nyjer seed draws in more than finches, like Pine Siskins and even some Woodpeckers.

How can I combine nyjer seed with other bird foods?

Mixes like Valley Farms Hearty Delight Blend add nyjer seed to sunflower hearts and more. This blend offers lots of nutrients for birds.

Where should I place my nyjer seed feeders?

Put your nyjer feeders apart from others, in a clear, open spot. Near shrubs or trees, they offer a quick escape for birds.

How does the availability of nyjer seed vary by region?

In the US, the need for nyjer seed depends on the bird population. More finches means more demand for nyjer seed.

How does nyjer seed relate to bird migration patterns?

Nyjer seed is crucial for some birds during their migration. Knowing when these birds come can help you feed them well.

How can I supplement nyjer seed with native plants?

Grow native thistles and plants that produce similar seeds. This gives birds more fresh food beyond your feeders.

Where does nyjer seed come from?

Communities in northern Africa provide nyjer seed. It’s collected from the African yellow daisy, then sterilized before export.

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