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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Hungry finches

The weather has turned wintry and our favorite winter finches, the American Goldfinches, have started visiting our bird feeders.

Five goldfinches at the front yard feeder this morning.

I had not yet put up my thistle sock feeders. I always wait for that until I see the finches visiting the feeders, otherwise the thistle (nyger) seeds can hang there in the weather and grow stale before the birds start eating them and I have learned to my chagrin that finches will not eat stale seeds. But now that the birds are eating the black oil sunflower seeds, it's time to buy some fresh thistle seeds and get out the socks and hang them.

Not only are the goldfinches visiting the feeders, other birds are hitting the seeds buffet regularly this week. The drop in the temperatures has made them seek additional calories to help keep up their energy and keep warm. It's important for those of us who feed birds in our yards to make sure that the feeders are kept clean and stocked now. It's a particularly good idea now to offer foods with a high fat content. Most birds like suet. Many also like peanuts or peanut butter. If you only offer one type of seed though, the best choice is probably the black oil sunflower seed. These seeds, too, are fairly high in fat content and they are liked by perhaps the greatest variety of backyard birds.

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