Where Did All The Goldfinch Go?

Male Goldfinch in summer plumage.

We field this question a lot this time of year.  Goldfinches are quite different than many of our other feeder birds in that they are constantly on the move.  Goldfinches you see for a few days or a week may be miles away tomorrow only to be replaced by a new group shortly thereafter. These movements are even more prominent in the spring.  We tend to see more Goldfinches in winter as northern populations move south.  With migration in full swing many of those birds are now heading north again.   Just three weeks ago Goldfinches and Pine Siskins disappeared from my feeders.  Just one week later a new group appeared.  And now the male Goldfinches are putting on their beautiful spring-summer plumage.  So, don’t think that you’ve done something wrong, or think the seed in your feeder is bad, it is normal for Goldfinches to be on the move. Here are a few tips to improve your success with Goldfinches.

Male and females on Droll Yankees Goldfinch feeder.

Males and females on the squirrel proof Squirrel Buster Finch.

v Keep your feeders full.  Goldfinches prefer to feed as a group and will not find a feeder attractive if it only has one feeder port available to feed from.  Top them off regularly.

v Check your seed for dampness particularly after rain showers. Simply shake your feeder up and down to see if the seed is dry and loose, or gotten wet and clumped together.  Remove only the wet seed.  The Aspects brand Quick Clean feeders are a great choice of finch feeders for easy maintenance and cleaning.

v Keep feeders clean.  Mold is a bad thing to have on your feeders and seed.  Really dirty feeders can be detrimental to the birds and be a source for spreading disease.

v We recommend grouping your finch feeders.  Again, they prefer to feed as a group, so it pays to give them that opportunity.  The more the merrier.

v Goldfinches love sunflower whether in shell or out.  Check out our Finch Blend which is Nyjer seed and Fine Sunflower Chips, and the Fine Sunflower Chips which can be used in any finch feeder.  If using the Finch Blend or Fine Sunflower it is recommended you present the feeder in a squirrel proof manner, like a baffled pole system, for example.