Does Nyjer seed attract rodents?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

Nyjer seed, also known as thistle seed, is a popular choice among bird enthusiasts for attracting goldfinches and other small songbirds. One of the advantages of Nyjer seed is that it tends to be unappealing to rodents such as squirrels and rats. These critters are generally not interested in cracking open the tiny seeds to access the edible interior.

I have personally observed this in my own backyard. I have a bird feeder filled with Nyjer seed, and while I have seen goldfinches flocking to it, I have never had any issues with squirrels or rats trying to get to the seed. This is in stark contrast to other types of birdseed that I have used in the past, which would often attract squirrels in droves. The squirrels would not only consume the seed intended for the birds but also cause quite a mess, scattering seed all over the place.

The reason why Nyjer seed is not as attractive to rodents lies in its size and structure. Nyjer seed is incredibly small, about the size of a pinhead, and it requires specialized feeders with small feeding ports to accommodate the birds’ beaks. This small size makes it difficult for rodents to handle and consume the seed effectively. Additionally, the outer shell of the Nyjer seed is quite tough, requiring a specialized beak or bill to crack it open. Squirrels and rats, with their larger and less precise teeth, are not well-equipped to access the edible interior of the seed.

It is essential to note that while Nyjer seed may not attract rodents as much as other types of birdseed, it is not entirely rodent-proof. In some cases, rodents may still be attracted to the seed if they are desperate for food or if there are no other food sources available. However, the likelihood of this happening is relatively low compared to other birdseed options.

To summarize, Nyjer seed is generally not attractive to rodents such as squirrels and rats due to its small size and tough outer shell. While it is not entirely rodent-proof, it is a good choice for bird enthusiasts looking to attract goldfinches and other small songbirds without the unwanted attention of rodents.