This  confirms something I have noticed - last year I started using the combo niger/hearts in my finch feeders. As the feeders approach empty I have noticed that only niger is left - the little rascals are selectively eating the hearts every chance they get.  Given the choice between filet mignon and hamburger, even the birds go for the filet!

Jean Leonatti
Sent from my U.S. Cellular® Smartphone
Columbia MO

-------- Original message --------
From: Steve Garr <[log in to unmask]>
Date: 12/12/2016 7:10 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Bird Feeders (No Sighting)

Dear fellow birders,
  Perhaps it is time I jumped into this thread of conversations on wild bird food and feeder products. I have been in the Wild Bird Feeding Industry since 1978 at both retailer and distributor levels.
 I have a few comments to add to this discussion from a purely informational standpoint.
One of the things the articles pointed out was the major shift on the consumer end of the market to offering more and more Sunflower Hearts (with no shell) to all birds. Those little nijer seeds really do have a shell, and over the years Goldfinch and other birds have been increasingly exposed to "shell free, high fat sunflower" (referred to as sunflower hearts, chips, or kernels). Many companies now mix sunflower hearts into their finch mixes with nijer seed. (also spelled "Nyjer", a copyrighted term coined by the Wild Bird Feeding Institute). Bottom line: Since nijer seed was introduced as a bird food option over 40 years ago, exposure to other high fat food options has likely altered seed preference by birds in some areas.
So, I would agree with the folks who suggested NOT immediately dumping out bags of nijer because you are under the impression that it is "bad". Seed which is fuzzy, or clumped should not be used- but resist the temptation to throw away seed you fear the birds simply do not like. Because nijer and sunflower heart chips are such fine, light products we do recommend shaking or tapping your finch feeders OFTEN to separate the seeds.  (FYI: Doves and Juncos like nijer when spread on the ground or large platforms).
       About Bird Seed Distribution:  The vast majority of bird shops do not purchase their bird seed products from the same supplier they purchase their "hard goods" (feeders, gifts etc).  They may purchase a few feeders or local items from their "bird seed supplier", however for the most part the two industries are entirely separate with regard to wholesaling to retailers.  They are very different businesses. While Missouri has many great bird seed suppliers around the state (Rolla, Kansas City area for example) much of the seed coming into our state- directly to retail stores- is from extremely large companies out of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin or Illinois. Looking at the bird seed retailers right here in Cole county alone, I can think of at least 5 different bird seed suppliers being used.  In bird stores- even in franchise bird stores- individual stores purchase bird seed from a great variety of suppliers, and very rarely from where they purchase the bulk of their feeders and other items. All of that to say that while nijer seed may be grown in the same few regions of the world, it is supplied to retailers in North America from a wide variety of companies.  How the seed is handled and stored before consumers purchase it can greatly effect the quality of the seed.  
    I am sure that was more info than most folks wanted! Out of respect for the list rules, if you have any questions about this information it may be best to email me personally.
 It is very good to see so many people concerned about the welfare of "their" backyard birds.  Backyard birds are so often the "launching pad" to an interest in conservation in general.
Hope this helps,
Steve Garr
Jefferson City, MO
Cole County

From: Edge Wade <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2016 11:44 AM
Subject: Re: Bird Feeders (No Sighting)

Wendy is correct about bird store seed supplier, perhaps more than she or most of of you are aware.

The largest bird store supplier (significantly more than 50% of all bird stores in North America) is a Missouri-based company:  Goldcrest Distributing, headquartered in Mexico, MO.  The owner is a sincere, conscientious businessman.  He became the largest supplier through hard work and quality products.  He has even purchased some small companies that make feeders, etc., to keep the business open and in the U.S.

He has contributed generously to Audubon and similar organizations.

If you have purchased niger seed in a Missouri bird store, there is a high probability Goldcrest was the store supplier.  If you made a recent niger purchase that the birds spurned, report it to the store.  If enough people (most repeat customers) report problems with the seed, I have no doubt Goldcrest will do all possible to improve the quality of the niger it supplies.

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wendy Williams" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2016 11:30:26 PM
Subject: Re: Bird Feeders (No Sighting)

I'm guessing that our regional sellers may all have the same supplier.  I buy my niger fresh here in Kirkwood and the birds have completely ignored my most recent offering.  I've never had this problem before. 
Wendy Williams
Kirkwood, MO
[log in to unmask]

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