Many birds eat niger (thistle) seed. Niger (occasionally spelled nyjer) is imported into the United States from the Middle East and is sterilized before being sold as birdseed. Although many ground-feeding birds such as doves, and juncos readily eat niger seed, this seed is generally offered in special niger seed feeders designed for finches. Niger seed is expensive and by offering it in specialized feeders, the birds cannot scatter and waste it. Goldfinch, house finch and pine siskins love niger seed and each of these birds is able to eat from a niger tube feeder. So, although, many birds will eat niger, this expensive seed is usually reserved for the finch family and is dispensed in a niger or thistle tube feeder.