Six months ago I bought a nyjer feeder because I had been advised that goldfinches are attracted to it. (The goldfinch is the one on the left and the one on the right is a siskin.) Because of their small size nyjer seeds easily pour out of a normal feeder. They are also more expensive than normal bird seed. Because of this I hesitated to put it out for a month. But when I eventually put it out nothing happened for ages. For the first two weeks nothing happened and I failed to notice any bird using. Eventually chaffinches and other species were occasionally seen pecking away but only those that also used the normal feeder. But no goldfinches. After it had been out a month I began to see siskins come into the garden to use the nyjer feeder. Now I had seen the occasional visit of a siskin to my garden since I put out the normal feeder but they were few and far between. Slowly they became a regular fixture with a couple being seen at the feeder at the same time. But still no goldfinches. More siskins began to appear as autumn turned into winter with as many as four being seen in the garden at one time. But still no goldfinches. I mentioned this to someone knowledgeable about wildlife and he assured me that goldfinches would eventually come. I did manage to photograph goldfinches in the wild in November when walking down by the river Spey.
Considering that illustrations of goldfinches tend to show them eating thistle seeds I was pleased to take this and other pictures. I saw these pictures as a reward for the investment in nyjer seed. Even so it was still it was frustrating not seeing them at my feeder. In December I caught a glimpse of a goldfinch in my garden but it just went to the normal birdfeeder before flying off before I could think of getting my camera. On Friday when I took in the nyjer feeder to fill it up again, I noticed a goldfinch perched in the tree above where I normally hang the feeder as if it was looking for it. Of course I had to disturb it to put the feeder back. But within a minute or two it returned along with the siskin. Before it eventually left I managed to take a sequence of photographs.
Photographs like the one above make the whole effort worthwhile. In the Christian media there are always appeals to sow a seed into this or that ministry. The danger lies when these calls appeal to the wrong motives. Sometimes they give the impression that ‘sowing a seed’ is a get rich quick scheme whereby God will multiply several times over almost instantly. We should not give to God for personal gain. When we gave our lives to the Lord we in effect gave him control of our wealth then it is His anyway. So in one sense God does not need our money. In part, we give to honour him, and therefore, in that way there is no need to expect a return. But we do serve a God who wants to bless us because He loves us, but that does not mean that the Christian life will be a pleasure cruise. I was impatient to get a reward when I put out my nyjer feeder and after the first month or so I began to think the nyjer feeder was a waste of time. All too often we have a timetable that we expect God to adhere to, instead we should be prepared to wait for things to happen in God’s good time.
David Rose, 2016.