Choosing a Nyjer Feeder for Finches

Picking the right nyjer/thistle feeder can determine whether or not you will be able to attract finches.

When I ask new backyard bird feeders to list some species they would like to attract to their backyards, finches are almost always one of the first species mentioned. Picking the correct feeder can determine whether you’ll be seeing loads of birds or not. Here’s a run down of feeders that you might consider.

1. Traditional Tube Feeder

This is the most commonly used type of finch feeder and can be very popular with the finches if it is cared for properly. You want to be sure to find one that will be easy to clean. Since the tube can trap water and water can cause the seed to mold, you might find yourself cleaning this feeder frequently in order to keep the birds coming back. A removable bottom and quality tube brush are a must.

Choosing a Nyjer/Thistle Feeder for FinchesCourtesy Eric Ripma
American Goldfinches sharing traditional tube feeder with Common Redpolls.

2. Sock Feeder

Sock feeders are simple and typically the finches love them. They are inexpensive but since they are just made of fabric, they do wear out quickly. They can be washed but be sure to replace them when they begin to look especially dirty.

Choosing a Nyjer/Thistle Feeder for FinchesCourtesy Eric Ripma
American Goldfinches sharing a sock feeder with Pine Siskins.

3. Mesh Feeder

Mesh feeders are similar to sock feeders but are much more durable. They are made of a metal mesh and much like the sock feeders, the finches just cling right to them to feed. You typically don’t see the same amount of issues with wet seed as you do in a tube feeder because air can move through the feeder and dry the seed if it gets wet. I personally only use this type of feeder and highly recommend them!

If you are curious about which goldfinch species are visiting your feeders, read about the three kinds of goldfinches found in the United States.

Rob Ripma
Rob Ripma, a lifelong Indiana resident, has traveled and birded extensively throughout the Americas.