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Phoenix, AZ

These cute little guys have been hanging out at the bird feeders. In the past years I see one once in a while. This year there appears to be quite a few. They are so cute and colorful.

Thumbnail by Fish_knees
Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Fish_knees. WOW what a wonderful visitor. It looks to be in the finch family. Not that I know much about wild birds, but he/she is absolutely beautiful. Would you mind directing some of them over this way? :-)

Phoenix, AZ

I'll tell them to visit Glendale :)
Might be a Warbler?

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Some quick research on the Internet and I've got them identified as Lesser Goldfinches, Spinus psaltria. See http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/lesser_goldfinch/id for more info.

Scottsdale, AZ(Zone 9b)

that is a beauty Barb. Another website with great pictures of our local birds.
http://www.pbase.com/dadas115/birds_of_arizona

Mesa, AZ

Yes, Lesser goldfinch. They only will eat the nyger seed and once they find it, they tell their friends. They have a sweet song, similar to a canary, and their contact calls always make me think of glass wind chimes. I have a flock of about 15-20 that are pretty much every day, year round friends.

Phoenix, AZ

Oh good! I hope they tell their friends :)
I didn't put out bird feeders for the longest time because of the flying rats :(
Susie I think you were the one that said to get the nyjer seed. It's so fun watching them.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

I love the little Lessers! Their song always cheers me up.

Cave Creek, AZ

Definitely a gold finch, they are very sweet little birds. they love thistle seeds too but watch out that you don't get a bunch of sparrows.
Mickey

Phoenix, AZ

I have lots of Sparrows too, everyone is welcome except the flying rats.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Amazingly, I don't get any flying rats, even though a neighbor a few blocks over seems to get tons of them. Maybe that's why I don't get any, and if that's the case, I better hope they don't move or else they may come to my buffet.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

Where do you get the nyjer seed? And, by flying rats, I think you mean pigeons? I dislike pigeons intensely.

Sue G
(CheerMom)

Phoenix, AZ

Hi Sue!
I try to get it @ Walmart. Big bag is $20. Lowe's and Home Depot carry it also.
I'm going to have to get a second job at the rate these birds are sucking down the bird seed..lol
flying rats=pigeons :(

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm going through a 20 lb bag of Wagner's from HD @ $10 a bag each week, and that's with 3 feeder's. Now it looks like I need to get a 3rd for the nyger seed. Still, it's cheaper than my kids.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

I saw some black thistle seed that looked like your seed at our WM (but our WM is really crummy LOL). I have a really nice feeder I would like to put out but can't figure out a place the rats wouldn't find it. They mostly stay in the backyard not the side or the front and I certainly don't want to tempt them to come out any further!!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

I was out enjoying the beautiful morning when I became aware of beautiful sounds. I looked around and in the top of the acacia tree sat a tiny little yellow birdy just singing his heart out. It was lovely, I just stood there grinning.

Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

I can't stand it any longer. How to I get these finches to find my house? I'm in the Far Northwest part of Phoenix and I don't believe I have ever seen any around here. I don't put out seed (yet) for the birds because I worry about small rodents making a home in the yard to scarf up the seed. Is that a problem for ya all that have bird feeders? I have 2 tropical birds in the house and once in a while will take out there left over seed and put it on the block wall for the birds. Seed goes everywhere, but it also helps to keep those wonderful Morning Doves cooing in the trees around the house. So, if I should decide to venture into the wild bird feeder relm, how do I get the finches to become part of the backyard family?

Phoenix, AZ

I used to have bird feeders with the large seed - sunflower seeds/corn/millet. I had little field mice everywhere. I had to get a Havahart trap to get them when the cat caught them and brought them in. The worst was the pigeons though :( I haven't had feeders for years. I finally caved and bought the Nyjer seed like Birdlady Susie told me to do a long time ago (it's pricey) It was slow activity for a while, but now it's crazy out there! No mice and no pigeons show up either!

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

I need to get a nyger feeder, but right now I use the standard wild bird seed with millet, corn, sunflower, etc. and anything that winds up on the ground gets eaten by the Inca doves, which prefer to eat on the ground anyway. I get 30-60 doves at a time, 4 different species and no pigeons.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

I think they started coming here for the thistle seed. I'm so glad they're here even if it's only for a while.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

judyb, according to www.allaboutbirds.org the website of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, they should be year-round residents here in the Valley.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

They seem to desert me in hot weather, but are here, off and on, the rest of the year.

Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

I'm a bit confused here. Is Nyger/Nyjer a brand name for a seed feeder or is it a kind of seed that one would use in a feeder??? I have found thistle seed, but haven't found Nyger/Nyjer seed. Does one only put thistle seed in the feeder? Assuming I only want to attract the "finch" varieties.
If Nyger is a brand name for feeders, then I have founds many of them on line. Not sure which one is best for the birds though and is it best to have one with a seed tray at the bottom or does it matter? Any specific models suggested???

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Niger (and other spellings) is just another name for thistle seed. You can get a feeder specifically for thistle seed and finches. A good one is the sock-type. The sock is filled with seed and the birds cling to it to eat. If you use a regular feeder, usually the holes are big enough that other birds will steal your seed and the finches will have to do without.

Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks judyb. I just came across the sock-type feeder before returning here to see if there was a response yet. I'm rather liking the reviews etc of the sock-type. For the life of me, I don't see how the finches get to the seed through the sock, but they must some how. There aren't holes in the sock already, right??? Anyway, I think I am starting to understand a bit now. If I got the sock-type will there be thistle seed all over the ground/patio where I want to put it? If so, is it possible for the thistle seed to grow if left on the gound?

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

We've never had thistle seed grow. We have had millet and sunflowers.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Millet grows with just the slightest hint of moisture.

Mesa, AZ

The thistle that is on the ground is actually the hull of the seed, which is a little piece inside the skinny black seed. Kinda like the heart of the sunflower is inside the hull. I used to think that they wasted a lot of seed, until I found out that they are eating that little heart of the thistle seed. So, I have had thistle sprout before, I think 3 plants over the years. I encouraged them and nutured them, as they put out thistle flowers and then dried to seeds, which the goldfinches snack on. Looking very cute while eating the seeds, I might add!
A seed sock works quite well and can be refilled. If you live in the east valley, there is a Wild Birds Unlimited at Gilbert and Baseline, while they can be pricey, their feeders and seeds are very high quality. I also have found thistle at the feed stores, like Mesa Feed Barn, on Broadway west of Mesa Dr, or Western Ranchman on 32nd St south of Bell or Pratts on Glendale west of 51 Ave. Give one close to you a call and check prices, it will be worth it!

Susie

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Found thistle, both in a sock and in a 5 lb bag @ WM for a reasonable price.

Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Ok, Sock feeder full of thistle seed has been out now for 2 days as of Sept. 24. NO FINCHES YET :-( I have a one foot by one foot sign with a large arrow pointing to the feeder saying ------->>>>>Finch Feeder This Way ! For those of you that have finches, please tell them there is extra food over my way. :-)

Phoenix, AZ

I just told mine to fly over to Glendale and follow the sign :)

Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Thanks Fish, but I think you better brush up on your Finch. No one has shown up. lol Thanks just the same. By the way. Saw your post on your backyard and the shade tree. LOVE those ponds. Tried to see all the plants etc and many of them look like they would bake in ths new found sun. I hope that doesn't happen. Good Luck.

Phoenix, AZ

yeah turning over a new "leaf" lol

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9b)

My neighbor feeds the pigeons on his driveway, so I can't put out feeders because they swarm and then I find them in my pond. Sometimes I only find an explosion of feathers which means a pigeon has had a close encounter of the Jake kind... Every so often Jake brings me in what left of a pigeon he's been playing with...shudder...

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

No goldfinches here yet, just house finches and house sparrows.

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

Still no goldfinches, but I the pair of Lovebirds was back last evening and this morning they brought another couple on a double date.

Thumbnail by frogymon
Glendale, AZ(Zone 9b)

Sept. 26 and still no finches visiting the feeder. I'm so bummed out. Not giving up, YET, but . . . lol

Mesa, AZ

It can take a while for them to come, patience is the key. If you get house finches, sooner or later the word spreads in the bird community and the goldfinches will show up.

Susie

Lisle, IL(Zone 5a)

It took about a week for the house finches and house sparrows to realize there was something edible in the new bird feeder, but now they're really chowing down from sun up to sun down, so if there are a goldfinches within 2 miles of me, they should show up soon.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

I have the back window open, that's nearest the tree with the feeders. I don't see, but I hear the gold finches with their darling little songs! Love them!!!

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