I've got the above plus nest boxes for other species and thistle feeders for finches. I'm in an area that is inundated with English house sparrows and European starlings. I'm pretty careful about the seed I use in my feeders and almost exclusively use safflower, sunflower seeds, whole kernel corn for the blue jays, and thistle seed.
Lately, I've been noticing the English House Sparrows at my thistle feeders. Thought this was somewhat odd. Did a little checking around and found this-
All of the finch feeders I have are the wrong style which is a big bummer.found that the thistle feeders that the goldfinches have to get to the seed by hanging upside down are the best for this. HOSP cannot hang upside down for any length of time and the goldfinches have no problem with this.
Then found this-
Found a link to a website selling thistle feeders that also had interesting comments-Take the perches off your feeders. The desirable birds (chickadee,
nuthatch, titmouse, finches, etc.) can cling to the feeders
without a perch. House Sparrows have difficulty with this.
Then found this-
Might work for me. Also read something about reducing the perch length to a quarter inch.Having seen advertisements for "upside-down" thistle feeders, we decided to perform a retrofitting on our feeder, which was a standard finch feeder featuring a central plastic tube with a metal top and bottom, and metal perches. We took the bottom and top off the feeder and reversed them. Now the bottom was on the top and the top on the bottom. But more importantly, the perches were now above the small thistle holes. This configuration enables the goldfinches to hang upside down to feed. Both the house finches and the house sparrows have tried to use the feeder, but they can't cling to the perches well enough to reach any thistle. They leave the thistle feeder alone now, so the goldfinches have exclusive rights.