New to feeding garden birds - (Peanuts or Nijer Seed)

Hey all,

Hope everyone is well? I’m new to this forum & new to Garden Bird feeding.

Bit of background.....

So over the last several months, through shielding I have gained an interest in photography, which then turned into a particular interest of bird photography, which has now led me, to gain a huge passion for garden birds. So because of this, a few weeks ago I set up a full feeding set up in the garden, to hopefully attract some more species to the garden & touch wood so far things are looking good. Since having this set up I have not attracted 3 Robins that come back daily & have even spotted a Blue tit feeding, both of which I have never seen in the garden before

Iv always had sparrows around & also large groups of Starlings (especially in the winter, when they do group together more than the summer), being in Wiltshire and so they’re loving the new feeding hub, especially the starlings, which yes although they can get through a whole feeder of suet pellets in a day, I actually don’t mind because they are beautiful birds in my opinion & thankfully they don’t seem to be affecting other birds, who also still get a go at the.

So currently I have set up a metal branched type feeding station, with various different feeders hanging: Suet pellets, fat balls, sunflower hearts, good mix seed & crushed peanuts...

Touch wood so far they all seem to be being used, suet pellets mostly, then the sunflower hearts, then the fat balls. The mix seed hasn’t been touched too much, but I understand birds prefer fattier thing in the winter & mixed seed in the hotter months. Along with this station, I also have a roofed table which I had a selection of the above + dried mealworms, which again a variety seem to use including the odd pigeon & magpie. Then the final thing I have is a ground feeder which again I put a mix of things with meal worms, which is mainly used at the ml and loved by the Robins. So yeah touch wood everything seems to be working well & hopefully more things will come soon, although I appreciate it only been a few weeks & can take months for new birds to arrive

Following all this, I just have one question & that whether I should stick with the peanuts or should I have put up a nijer seed feeder? The reason I ask is I have read very mixed things about both & currently the peanuts haven’t been touch (but again I appreciate it’s only been a few week)?

Many thanks all & I look forward to getting to know you

  • Well done you are doing wonderfully. I use all the same things as you but stopped using niger some time ago. I found it was going moldy and the few goldfinch that did try it caused a lot to fall to the ground, not only a waste it grows like mustard and cress! Have fun be well welcome to the forum from Marian in Birmingham

    isn't wild wonderful

  • Hello Marian, thank you & very nice to meet you :)

    Thank you very much, I’m really enjoying watching the station get busy and I look forward to attracting more species.

    Thank you too for your advice on the Niger seed, it’s not the first time I have read people stop using it, so appreciate the direct answer, which means in that case I will not worry about getting them and I’ll stick with the peanuts.

    Trouble is I’m bit excited, which is making me impatient, particularly after seeing the Robins & that one Blue tit. So I just need to give it more time, as it’s only been a couple of weeks aha :) But hopefully in a few weeks more bird will start to arrive. It fascinating thought how birds do arrive that you have never seen before :)
  • Hi Joe it depends if you get birds such as Goldfinches in your garden, they will eat Niger, some go mad for it and others like in my garden will eat it but sunflower hearts are their favourite.

    My Flickr photos

  • I have broken with recent tradition and splashed out on birdfood. All I bought was two sacks of niger. I don't want to encourage house sparrows (long story but it involves house martins). I do, however, want to encourage siskins and redpolls which both used to visit the garden when I put food out previous years. Goldies, as has been mentioned, also eat a lot of niger. My theory is in areas where teasel grows, they are more likely to be keen on niger. Just my theory. If you live in an urban area, it probably isn't worth buying niger as goldies eat sunflower hearts along with most other bird species. With peanuts, if you want great spotted woodpeckers, they are worth having. But GSW populations are booming and have consequences for small birds, esp those that use nestboxes.

    p.s. Niger feeders need trays. I haven't had an issue with dropped seed. Dunnocks and other less likely niger eaters clean up what little does fall. Other niger eaters in this garden icluded bullfinches. 

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Hi Alan, thank you for this.

    I’m currently using sunflower hearts & they seem to be going down well with the sparrows (along with the suet pellets), so hopefully if I stick with them for few more weeks I will hopefully start to attract some other small species :)
  • In reply to Robbo:

    Hi Robbo, thank you for this insight too, very helpful indeed.

    If I’m honest your theory to me dosnt sound bad actually & does make sense. And so if I was to follow that, then yes I’m better of sticking with the sunflower hearts for now, as being in an urban area thistle dosnt grown round here :)

    Also thank you for the tips regarding the peanuts & the GSW’s, I will keep the peanuts up & keep an eye on things over the coming weeks.

    Thing is, it seems too many of the birds are likeing things like the suet pellets & mealworms, which I suppose is because the winter months fattier foods are more enjoyed :)
  • Hi Joe, and welcome. I'd echo not using nyger seed, the sunflower hearts will suffice, but also I wouldn't have the peanuts either, as in my garden nothing touched them. I would get a bird bath or two though, if you haven't already... smashing photo opportunities of bathing birds!
  • In reply to PimperneBloke:

    Hello, thank you :)

    And thank you for the advice, it seems to be the general consensus to not use the nyger, so yeah I’ll certainly stick with the sunflower hearts. As for the peanuts, I’m hoping they may attracts some tits or something as others have said, so I’ll keep them going while I have them fresh, but definitely if they don’t get used & end up wasting then I won’t buy again & re think what is being used to replace :)

    Bird bath wise, thankfully I thought of that one aha & at the same time as the feeder, I set up a floor standing one & a hanging one :)
  • If you have whole Peanuts in a feeder Joe and find they aren't being eaten try smashing them up a bit so some of the birds can grab n go.

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Ahh okay, thank you for the tip! I’ll give that a try :)