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What Birds Eat Nyjer Seed?

what birds eat nyjer seed

Nyjer seed, also known as Niger or thistle seed, is the favorite of many small, seed-eating birds. If you just want to attract specific species of birds to your bird feeder, then it would be best to use only the kinds of food that they like.

If you want to attract small birds into your backyard garden, one of the best bird seeds to use is Nyjer seed. However, exactly what birds eat Nyjer seed? Would you even like the kinds of birds to flock to your property? In this article, you will learn about birds who are fond of it and birds not eating Nyjer seed.

Types of Birds that Eat Nyjer Seeds

Typically, the birds that enjoy feeding on Nyjer seeds are the smaller, seed-eating birds. These are the species that have short and pointy bills. These allow the birds to manipulate and crack open the husks easily to get the edible bits inside.

Many of the bird species that love eating Nyjer seeds are also called clinging birds. This is because they tend to cling and feed at unusual angles. They have strong grasping claws that allow them to hold securely on almost any surface. They can even feed while hanging upside-down.

Some of the birds that you can attract using Nyjer seeds include:


goldfinch eat nyjer seed

The goldfinch is a small, acrobatic bird that is a year-round resident in most of its territories. However, some sub-species do migrate short distances. These birds have feisty personalities and cheerful songs that make them welcome visitors to your garden.

Dark-eyed juncos

dark eyed juncos eat nyjer seed

Juncos are types of sparrows characterized by their pale white bills and white outer feathers. These tiny birds are quite energetic and are usually still around even when the migratory birds have left for the winter. In fact, they are more prevalent during the winter months as there is less competition.

House finches

house finches juncos eat nyjer seed

The house finch is one of the most common backyard birds in North America. The male house finch has a brown cap, a strawberry forehead, and a blurry face. The females are quite plain-looking. They have the same pale bill but with a drab brown body covering.

Pine siskins

pine siskins juncos eat nyjer seed

Often confused with sparrows and finches, the pine siskin is quite a noisy and energetic little bird. Although they might look bland, the pine siskins still have lots of distinctive field marks that make them look a bit more interesting upon closer inspection. These also make them distinguishable from other backyard birds.

Song sparrows

song sparrows juncos eat nyjer seed

Song sparrows, also called vesper sparrows, are among the most common backyard birds in the western hemisphere. These birds might look bland and uninteresting, but their beautiful song will make you forget about their appearance. If you want to wake to a beautiful morning cacophony, you should attract these birds to your yard.

Aside from clinging birds, Nyjer seeds are also popular with some ground-feeding birds, mostly pigeons, and doves. However, if you will be using a bird feeder, the ground-feeding birds will need to wait for the Nyjer seeds to fall to the ground.

What Birds Do Not Eat Nyjer Seeds?

Even though Nyjer seeds are quite popular among the many kinds of birds that usually frequent suburban backyards, some absolutely dislike them.

Waxwings, orioles, and other fruit-eating birds will not even look at Nyjer seeds. Of course, hummingbirds will not like eating these seeds. If you want to attract those kinds of birds, you should not use Nyjer seeds or any kind of seed.

what birds do not eat nyjer seeds

In addition, birds with larger and less adept bills like starlings, grosbeaks, and cardinals will not be all that interested in Nyjer seeds. They will try to eat these seeds for a bit, but they will soon give up as they will not be able to crack open the tiny seeds. They will not even eat the seeds whole.

Also, even if there are plenty of finches that visit your yard, if there are more natural food sources in your garden, they might not eat that many Nyjer seeds. For instance, if there are lots of seed-producing flowering plants in your garden, the birds may go to them first before even going to your bird feeder.

How to Attract Birds with Nyjer Seeds?

how to attract birds with nyjer seeds

To attract only the kinds of birds that you want using Nyjer seeds, you have to use the appropriate feeders. Just scattering the seeds on the ground will attract all birds and even a couple of other animals.

The best way to attract birds using Nyjer seeds is to use a tube feeder, particularly one designed for small seeds. Choose a tube feeder that has small or no perches, this will dissuade the bigger birds from eating the seeds. The smaller birds won’t have any trouble grasping the small perches, so they won’t have any problems at all.


What birds eat Nyjer seed? Apparently, you will be attracting small songbirds to your yard if you put out Nyjer seeds for them to eat. You will be greeted by a cacophony of songs every morning if you stock your bird feeder with these small seeds.

These birds have short and strong bills, making it easier for them to crack open the husks of the small Nyjer seeds. However, if you are thinking of attracting bigger bird varieties, like cardinals, you won’t have that much luck with Nyjer seeds.

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