If you enjoy goldfinches and happen to feed thistle or nyjer seed to attract them, there’s more you can do to accommodate these little songbirds. Adding nesting material near your thistle bird feeders will entice them to nest nearby. This means a good chnace of seeing more finches and especially fledglings. Although Goldfinches don’t use birdhouses, they will nest in hedges or trees. They are the latest songbird to nest and breed with their season running from June to September. (So there’s still time).
The House Finch, who also feasts at thistle feeders, has 1 to 3 broods per year, so they stay pretty busy building their nests – which can be found just about anywhere. Check the Boston Ferns on your front porch before drenching them with water!
Commercial nesting materials are available, but you can make your own fairly easily. Using a mesh bag (from the produce section of the grocery store) start collecting dryer lint, yarn strings, pet hair, moss, and small twigs. Gather materials and tie off bag to hang from a tree branch. Your birds will be grateful for the easy pickings!
The American Goldfinch is adored by many backyard birders, mostly for their vibrant yellow plumage and sweet song. With a gentle disposition, they tend to shy away from a crowded thistle feeder, whereas most birds become aggressive and fight for food.
You can alleviate this problem by adding extra feeders. With the use of thistle, or nyjer socks, it is very inexpensive and effective to accommodate more finches. The thistle socks are available in different sizes, and best of all, cost only a few dollars (usually under $5.00). No cleaning required, basically they are meant to be disposable after becoming worn or tattered.
They allow for cling-type, all over feeding as opposed to perches, so the whole feeder is actual feeding space. Thistle socks are available in white mesh, black, even festive holiday colors! Eliminate the competition for food and attract more Goldfinches with the use of this innovative thistle feeder.
If you adore the vibrant yellow plumage of Goldfinches, it’s best to keep thistle feeders out year round. Thistle seed, also called nyjer is enjoyed not only by Goldfiches, but Indigo Buntings and Pine Siskins relish this seed too. One of the benefits of thistle is that it will not germinate, so there are no worries of sprouting weeds below your feeder. Another is that Goldfinches will sit at your feeder pecking seed after seed (to feed their brood) so it’s easy to view the charming songbirds. Both their song and disposition make the American Goldfinch a favorite among many backyard birders.
A common drawback to the very long, tubular style thistle feeders is that seed gets compacted at the bottom and tends to draw moisture if always filled from the top. Some feeders can be filled from the top or bottom. Remember to dump old seed and keep feeders clean. The three-tube thistle feeders also tend to distribute the seed more evenly, thus eliminating the problem of packed seed at the bottom.