I've fed birds in my yard for years. Usually I have two types of feeders up year-round: a traditional one that contains a mix of sunflower seeds and other "songbird" type seeds, and finch feeders that contain Nyjer ("thistle") seed. (I add hummingbird feeders in the warm months too of course.)
I've had a problem the last few years with the finch feeders. The last time I consistently saw finches feeding was probably three years ago. Let's talk about this...
That's the year that I made three changes at once: I changed the old super-cheap tube feeder with a "better" model, I moved the feeder about 7' (2m), and I mounted it on a pole instead of letting it hang from a tree branch. Here is the replacement feeder:
Don't let the low seed level fool you -- I get a couple of birds visiting it once in a while, but it's not the steady finch party that it was before this.
I didn't think that moving the feeder such a small amount would make much difference, so I concluded that they didn't like that feeder, and bought a couple more. This one:
Pretty much the same result as the previous -- not much activity, even though it's within 7' (2m) of the other feeder).
The third feeder style I tried was a mesh one. It was in the same location as the other two, until recently when I moved it into the front walkway garden:
Nothing. I've never seen a single bird perch on this feeder. I've been shaking the feeder on the walkway every day to get the juncos interested, which I hoped would attract the attention of the finches. Juncos yes, finches no.
So I added a second feeder to get more bird activity over here, hoping that will get the finches interested:
So far nothing on the finch feeder (is that a finch on the other feeder though?).
One more thing: fresh seed doesn't help. Is it that the finches liked feeding in a more protected area, with branches and leaves very close by, and these are all too much in the open? I'm really out of ideas, and I miss having the finches visiting daily.
What's your experience with finch feeders? What location works for you? What feeder style?