Thursday, May 07, 2009
Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria. I first saw these guys hanging out on my rosemary, eating the seeds. Every now and then they would pass through the yard but they wouldn't eat at the regular feeder. The House finches would eat the regular birdseed but not the Gold finches. I finally caved in and bought a finch feeder and a big bag of Nyjer. About a day later, I had finches! First one or two and then a whole flock of them. Soon, they had nyjer all over the deck and the squirrels were starting to come up under the nyjer so I moved it all down under a tree where they can mess and munch all they want.
Nyjer is also called thistle. That, of course, got me good and worried that the yard would soon be covered in thistle (a noxious weed in California). However, a little bit of Googling and I found out they are totally different plants - no relation whatsoever. Also, Nyjer seed is all imported (much of it from India of all places) and is apparently sterilized (baked at 250F) to prevent the introduction of still another noxious weed that gets mixed in as a contaminant.