Types of Bird Seed: Nyjer Seed

Almost as overwhelming as the choice of which feeder to buy, is the choice of what food to serve in your feeder. Different species of birds are attracted to different seed types.

The information below can help you make sense of the bags and boxes of bird food on the store shelves.

Black-Oil SunFlower
Nyjer & Thistle

Nyjer Seed

Other Names: Niger, Nyger, Noog/Nug, Ramtil/Ramtilla, Inga Seed and Blackseed, Thistle (not related to the American Thistle weed)
Nyjer or Thistle Seed

Scientific Name: Guizotia abyssinica

Nyjer seeds are the tiny fruit of an annual herb native to the highlands of Ethiopia. These little seeds are the universal seed of choice for the house finch, Greenfinch and colorful Goldfinch.

Bird Food Nyjer and Thistle - Goldfinch

You will need to purchase a special nyjer/thistle feeder to dispense this seed, since these bird feeder types have seed openings that are the perfect size for the tiny seeds. There are several tube bird feeders that have ports that can be changed from mixed seed to nyjer or thistle seed ports.

There are some nyjer and thistle seed bird feeders that have "upside Upside down finch feederdown" ports. This is particularly advantageous to feeding finches since they are one of the few birds that have the ability to feed upside down. Upside down feeders allow the finch to alight on the port's perch then turn upside down and eat the nyjer or thistle seed from the port hole below the perch.

Nyjer seed loses its freshness after six months, so purchase often and in small amounts. Be sure to clean your nyjer or thistle feeder once every two weeks.


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Mixed Seed