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Madeleine

Sparrows won't leave my niger seed in finch feeders along.

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I have seen these white crowned sparrows come through our area of southern BC for the past few years.   However, they never bothered with my finch feeders.   I only use finch feeders and with niger seed.     Now the sparrows are fighting to sit on the perches and how they get their beak in the tiny slit for finches I don't know.   But they are everywhere.   Poor goldfinches are trying to fend them off.    I have taken the feeders down twice so far, about 4 days each time.    All was quiet then.   I put them back up again today and it is a free for all with other finches just going somewhere else.   Help anyone?   Is there another type of feeder I could use.

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No direct experience, but I've heard that the kind of feeders that require hanging upside down (perches above the feeding holes) are helpful because finches can do that but sparrows can't.

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That is exactly the type I am using.  The sparrows I have are larger than a finch And they reach above to the next slot and get seeds out of there.

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Welcome to Whatbird, Madeleine. I'm not sure what type of perch your feeder has but you might be able to shorten the perches to make it harder for the larger birds to get a grip. If the feeder just has straight plastic pegs you can cut a bit off each perch to shorten them. If your feeder has T-shaped perches you can try trimming the branches of the T to lessen the perch area. The smaller the perches, the smaller the birds will need to be to use them. I've never tried it myself but I'd suggest shortening the perches just a bit at a time, you don't want to make the perches too short for the desired birds while trying to discourage the undesirable birds.

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Huh.  I hang out thistle / niger in central SC and everything ignores it, including the goldfinches.  Finch feeders, socks; it doesn't matter, the stuff just sits there until it rots.  The finches in my yard all prefer BOS or seed / nut mixes.  After several attempts over the years I've decided if they prefer cheaper feeds, more power to them.

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That is really odd.  The finches up this way love niger seed but I am going to change to another finch seed as niger is very expensive, even at WalMart.  We r retirees and just cannot continue with this feed. Once they all start feeding with youngsters. They will eat us out of house and home. 

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And Lonestranger...your tip about shortening the posts 'seems to be working' altho I saw those sparrows there tonite so marched out and clipped a bit more off. hope it is not too much.  Lol

tha ks again.

 

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We used to have a problem with sparrows and then we bought an upside down finch feeder that took care of the problem. We had other feeders that were easier for the sparrows to get to so they didn't bother the finches when they went to their feeder.

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I had the upside feeders to begin with.   So I followed what someone else suggested and that was to cut the perches shorter.   that helped and got rid of the sparrows however, the finches seemed to not bother coming, except for the goldfinches.   All the others, house, purple, etc. seem to be going elsewhere.   So I bought one new feeder with regular perches and have not any any finches coming now.   Just can't win.  lol

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Regarding finches eating nyjer versus BOSS.  I lived in Pennsylvania from 2011-2014 and the American Goldfinches would empty my nyjer feeders in one day up there.  Conversely, I will fill up my nyjer feeder in November here in Alabama for the finches and siskins and they will not eat 1/2 of the feeders contents in the winter season.   Something about the northern birds is different.  They seem to crave nyjer whereas the southern birds that migrate down for the winter seem to focus on BOSS.  I still put out the nyjer every season just in case the siskins come down to visit me.  They didn't come last year since they are irruptive and had plenty to eat up North.  Believe me.. There is a regional difference on how much nyjer seed gets eaten by the birds based on my experience of living in both places. 

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How very interesting Tclarkwood.    Well no bird of any kind wants to eat the nijer seeds or even the regular wild finch seeds (little round seeds).   What are BOSS if I may ask.   Probably a silly question but I am really not a "bird follower".

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BOSS is black-oil sunflower seed, a favorite for most species of birds, including White-crowned Sparrows. Goldfinches will eat these seeds as well as nyjer.

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22 hours ago, Tclarkwood said:

Regarding finches eating nyjer versus BOSS.  I lived in Pennsylvania from 2011-2014 and the American Goldfinches would empty my nyjer feeders in one day up there.  Conversely, I will fill up my nyjer feeder in November here in Alabama for the finches and siskins and they will not eat 1/2 of the feeders contents in the winter season.   Something about the northern birds is different.  They seem to crave nyjer whereas the southern birds that migrate down for the winter seem to focus on BOSS.  I still put out the nyjer every season just in case the siskins come down to visit me.  They didn't come last year since they are irruptive and had plenty to eat up North.  Believe me.. There is a regional difference on how much nyjer seed gets eaten by the birds based on my experience of living in both places. 

I'm in SC and I've given up wasting money on niger.  I have goldies, housies, some years siskins, but none of them want it.  It sits in the sock or feeder until it rots, no matter how small an amount I start with.  Even the siskins two years ago preferred sunflower.

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10 hours ago, Madeleine said:

How very interesting Tclarkwood.    Well no bird of any kind wants to eat the nijer seeds or even the regular wild finch seeds (little round seeds).   What are BOSS if I may ask.   Probably a silly question but I am really not a "bird follower".

The little round ones are most likely milo.  It's cheap so the inexpensive mixes are chock full of it.  You posted earlier that you tossed cheap stuff over the ridge for the ground feeders.  Doves and a few others will eat milo, as you've seen by using it to lure them away, but most songbirds ignore it.  (Keep an eye on that 'junk pile' if you're in an area with turkeys or game birds.)  Most birds will toss it out of feeders to get to what they really want in those cheap mixes (sunflower, the occasional corn kernel or safflower).  What they toss lies on the ground and attracts ... squirrels.  It's actually more expensive to use the cheap mixes; you're spending money to feed critters you aren't interested in.

But check the ingredients.  Milo is bad, millet (also round) is good.  I remember the difference by comparing the length of the words - milo and bad are shorter words than millet and good.

http://www.thebirdfoodstore.com/2013/09/06/millet-is-good-milo-is-bad/

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I have three thistle feeders and when things get busy I bust out my Drolls Yankee 3' - 20 port feeder. I've seen sparrows use it at times, but I see way more finches using it. I took this picture a couple weeks ago.

finches.jpg

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