Feeder Trials – Report number 4
A month ago I wrote …it now seems remarkable that I didn’t have Goldfinches in my yard until I put out Niger seed... I had just moved to a full sized niger [or should that be nyjer?] feeder supplied by Jacobi Jayne - see their website for product details http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/ and was getting four or five goldfinches at the same time with others lining up on the telephone wires over the feeders. I was contemplating putting up another such feeder in the narrow strip between my office window and the high wall of the house next door. Well I now have a niger feeder there along with a feeder for seed mix, one for peanuts and a holder for suet blocks. But, back to my original niger feeder…
The original feeder hangs below a huge pyrocanthus bush – currently totally covered in ripe berries – it too is now beside a peanut feeder, a mix seed feeder but, in place of the suet holder is a clever contraption from Jacobi Jayne designed to hold an apple [put out in the hope of attracting back the Ring-necked Parakeets that used to feed there]. So yesterday I did a count of Goldfinches – there were 6 or 9 on the niger feeder, three more on the mixed seeds and several on the floor below picking up what was being spilled off the overcrowded feeder tray. This dozen are my regular hoard of Goldfinches. Alongside them were three or four Greenfinches, half a dozen House Sparrows a couple of Starlings and a lone Blue Tit on the peanuts.
At the same time my new [smaller] niger feeder had four Goldfinches [maximum saturation] and the mixed seed held a selection of Greenfinches and sparrows as well as a couple more Goldfinches. So my tiny urban patio of pots has gone, in a few weeks from never having had a Goldfinch visit, to having a nice regular charm of half a dozen to a veritable invasion of lemming like proportions! What's more the Greenfinches are now very much increased - something it is only easy to say because of the time of year - individual youngsters are quite easy to pick out in their less than full blown livery. The peanut feeder has a Blue Tit too but who knows whether I get a regular couple of many more in shifts. As I write this a glance out of the office window shows six Goldfinches evenly split between niger and mixed seed.
Now this throws up another question - how come the Goldfinches happily eat all the other feeder food, seeds that were on offer long before I tried niger? Does niger have a smell detectable from miles away? Truth is I very rarely saw a goldfinch within a couple of hundred yards of my house before the niger feeders attracted them in.
What is more the Dunnocks and my now resident Robin have also been seen on the mixed feeder tray a few times of late. Maybe this is because there is less to pick through on the floor since we switched to the husk-free mix which we changed to [to save my marriage :-)].
Despite the apples we still put out there has been much less evidence of the thrush family for a while. Our tame song thrush still pops up every so often but the last of his/her youngsters is no longer about - hopefully dispersed and not fallen victim to one of the four cats who regularly trespass here. One blackbird comes and goes - I guess we'll see more of both as winter makes foraging less productive. Talking of which, what we need is cat proof ground feeder to give them safe haven; I must ring Jacobi Jayne and see what they can do...
Created: 14th Sep 2005