Attract More Goldfinches to Your Backyard Using Feeders

american goldfinch
To attract Goldfinches in your backyard, invest in thistle birdseed and a special finch feeder. Goldfinches will eat thistle from tube feeders, sock feeders, caged bird-feeders, and even hummingbird feeders. Planting thistle shrubs in your garden will also attract these yellow songbirds.

Goldfinches are fussy birds and prefer a special kind of bird seed from a special feeder. Bird feeders sold at the local wildlife store is made for general songbirds and won’t attract goldfinches (or any type of Finch!). Knowing what they like to eat and the right style of bird-feeder is the key to attracting them into your yard. So, let’s dive right in!

What is a Goldfinches’ Favorite Food?

The American goldfinches’ favorite food is thistle. While goldfinches live on a diet of seeds, thistle seed is their absolute favorite. These wild birds will flock to birdfeeders stock with Nyjer thistle seed mix or backyards filled with native thistle plants. In addition to thistle, goldfinches also enjoy other types of seeds such as oil sunflower, sunflower heart (unshelled sunflower seeds), and suet.

It’s important to note that opting for Nyjer thistle birdseed is your best trick to attract goldfinches, pine siskins, orioles, and even woodpeckers to your backyard. Since other backyard critters like house sparrows and squirrels prefer other blends of birdseed, they’ll often leave your dedicated goldfinch birdseed alone.

goldfinch feeder

What Type of Birdfeeder is Best for Goldfinches?

If you want goldfinches in your garden, you need to invest in a style of bird-feeder made specifically for goldfinches. These bird-feeder alternatives include anything from a sock feeder (which is incredibly affordable) to colorful tube feeders (a little more expensive). Check out these different styles of Finch feeders to help you decide which is best for your outdoor space.

Mesh Feeder

Mesh feeders are also referred to as sock feeders or thistle socks. They are composed of a fine mesh material thick enough for finches to fish out thistle but thin enough to keep out gluttonous pests. The great thing about mesh feeders is that they do a great job at only attracting finches (and the occasional woodpecker). The material only works with thistle, so stock up on Nyjer’s bird seed! They are affordable, and you can stock up on quite a few for under 20 dollars on Amazon.

The downside about mesh feeders is that they don’t look charming in your garden. If you prefer decorative bird-feeders that add personality to your backyard, you may be underwhelmed by the look of these mesh socks. Plus, they aren’t very durable. They likely won’t hold up to spring if you live in an area with harsh winters.

sock mesh feeders for goldfinches

Tube Feeders

Goldfinches often hang upside down as they eat, making tube feeders a great option. They have feeding ports big enough for goldfinches but small enough that other songbirds like blue jays and cardinals will leave them alone.

Perky-Pet has a great goldfinch feeder on Amazon that does a fantastic job attracting goldfinches. The bright yellow color of the top and base draw goldfinches to your backyard, and it holds a surprising amount of thistle (or other finch blends), so you won’t need to fill it often. Tube feeders are a little more expensive than mesh feeders but are much more durable and easier to clean. If you have spare cash, a suitable tube feeder (like the one from Perky-Pet) is an investment worth making.

Squirrel Proof Birdfeeders

In most cases, squirrels won’t touch your Nyjer bird seed. But that doesn’t mean the squirrels in your backyard won’t bend the norm. Squirrels are tricky and unpredictable, and if they get a taste of thistle, it’s game over for your finch feeder. If you don’t want to temper the squirrel fates, opt for a squirrel-proof feeder to keep squirrels away from your finches!

If relentless squirrels are a constant problem, opt for a finch feeder with a steel cage around the feeding ports. This style of bird-feeder still provides perches for finches and places a cage around the outside of the tube feeder that’s large enough for birds but too small for squirrels.

Hummingbird Feeders

Did you know other bird species like to grab a drink at a hummingbird feeder? In addition to hummingbirds, hanging nectar feeders attract the American goldfinch, lesser goldfinches, bananaquits, and chickadees. When using hummingbird feeders, opt for a feeding station with bright colors, and keep it filled and stocked with fresh nectar. An excellent way to entice goldfinches without drawing away hummingbirds is to utilize a bird feeding station that incorporates Hummingbird feeders, tube feeders, and thistle to keep your backyard birds happy and fed.


Other Ways To Attract Goldfinches

  • Plant Native Bushes and Plants. A super simple way to draw goldfinches to your backyard is by planting native bushes like thistle and milkweed. These plants serve two purposes for goldfinches: they offer an excellent food source and nesting material. Goldfinches don’t nest until later in the summer, and that’s because they wait for thistle and milkweed to bloom. Planting thistle is a great way to attract goldfinches and may encourage them to nest in your garden!
  • Keep Birdbaths Clean. Just like any other songbird, goldfinches are drawn to a constant water source. In the summer, be sure that you keep your bird bath clean and stocked with fresh water at least once a day. In the winter, you can also invest in keeping the water in your bird bath from freezing over.

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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