The Best Thistle Feeders - Your Guide to Buying Thistle and Nyjer Feeders for Finches

Updated: Apr 13

The Nyjer feeder or thistle feeder is a specialist feeder to attract finches, sparrows, and chickadees. Learn how to shop for thistle feeders and Nyjer feeders, here!

Using a Nyjer and thistle feeder is a great way to attract large flocks of gorgeous winter finches like Pine Siskins. While sunflower seed feeders can also accomplish this task, thistle feeders rarely attract other feeder pests like squirrels, House Sparrows, and European Starlings. Keep up to date with feeder knowledge by joining Flocking Around!


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Why use a Nyjer feeder or thistle feeder?


Thistle or nyjer seed attracts finch species such as American Goldfinch, House Finch, Purple Finch, Cassin's Finch, and Common Redpoll. We have also seen Dark-eyed Junco and Green-tailed Towhee feed on Nyjer and thistle feeders. Why are these birds attracted to nyjer seed? Small-billed birds often eat smaller seed types, and Nyjer seed is the closest replicant available on the birdseed market.


What is nyjer or thistle seed?


It is a special type of seed that comes from a plant related to the sunflower! You read that correctly! It is a species of aster! It previously came from the eastern hemisphere, but it is now grown in the US additionally. The seed is sterilized so it has no chance to grow into a new plant!


Since the American Goldfinch is widespread, this feeder type is frequently found in backyards to attract these golden angels. We recommend mesh screen thistle feeders for feeding Nyjer seed. Why? No feeding ports! Feeding ports encourage the spread of bacteria and viruses that plague finches. AVOID using feeders with ports!



What is the best Nyjer feeder or thistle feeder type?


With thistle and nyjer feeders in mind, we offer our recommendation.

  1. The Stokes Select Bird Feeder is a reasonably-priced thistle or nyjer feeder and being a slightly smaller feeder (0.5 lbs), you are less likely to waste nyjer/thistle seed. If you need the large version, check out Stokes Select Thistle 1.1 lb Finch Screen Feeder.

  2. A great budget thistle/nyjer feeder is the Nyjer Sack.

  3. If you need a LARGE nyjer/thistle feeder, check out the Magnum Thistle Feeder!

  4. To feed larger finches, use black oil sunflower seed with a platform feeder. Why a platform feeder? Larger birds appreciate the stability.

  5. To shop around other thistle feeders, you can check more out here.


Best Thistle and Nyjer Feeder: Stokes Select Bird Feeder

Click here to see it on Amazon!


For thistle feeders, this one is hard to beat due to its high online ratings and overall solid build. The wire mesh screen allows finches, chickadees, and sparrows to pull nyjer or thistle seed out of the feeder, without pushing their head into a port. It allows air movement, preventing nyjer seed from becoming too moist. This is the feeder that we use here at the Flocking Around roost. It is easy to clean, and a large variety of birds appreciate it!



Best Budget Thistle and Nyjer Feeder: C&S 3 Pack of Nyjer Sacks

Click here to see it on Amazon!


Do you know what is great about the "sock" thistle feeders? They are easy to clean! Just pop them into the washing machine with a little soap and bleach, give them an extra rinse, and then dry them! Easy bird feeder cleaning! If you are feeding on a budget, the thistle sock is the absolute way to go. You can buy a single sock if you only have room for one, but you can also purchase the three-pack like pictured above.



Best Large Thistle and Nyjer Feeder: Woodlink Magnum Thistle Feeder

Click here to see it on Amazon!


If you have enough finches (like a finch irruption) visiting your feeders that you need a feeder capable of holding 5 lbs of nyjer seed, then please send an invite to us for a visit to your house! We would love to see all those finches!!


What is the best bird feeder for large finches?


Large platform feeders provide the stability and space that large finches like Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, and Red Crossbills love! Fill them with sunflower seed or use a combination of sunflower seed and Nyjer seed!


Best grosbeak, crossbill, and rosy-finch feeder: Going Green Platform Feeder

Click here to see it on Amazon!


The Going Green platform feeder is made from recycled materials and has a better longevity record than the cedar-framed platform feeders. It is easy to clean and repair!



Want to learn more about the best birdseed to buy? Visit our post discussing birdseed!

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