why use an upside down finch bird feeder?
Too many finches in your yard… House Finches, Purple Finches stealing all the “black gold” known as nyjer (or thistle)? Here’s a tip you may not be aware of: Goldfinches are the only finch who will feed while perching upside down. Enter the upside down finch bird feeder! It discourages other finches while attracting American Goldfinches.
It’s exclusively for Goldfinches and really does the trick if your finch bird feeder is requiring too many trips to fill. One thing I’ve noticed in our yard is the finch feeders’ activity seems to cycle. Constantly gorging on thistle all winter, these feeders have less activity right now, while the finch bird feeders with mixed seed are jammed-packed mobbed.
Goldfinches have the latest nesting season of most song birds, so you can bet thistle feeders will once again be bustling from late June through the summer months. With dandelions out in full force, Goldfinches are also feasting on this favorite while the pollen flies and settles here in the southeast. If your finch bird feeder is seeing little or no activity now – be patient and don’t give up just yet. Warmer summer months will bring increased activity and vibrant yellow hues to yard! If the food sits too long though, it my spoil with heat and humidity, so just be sure thistle is fresh for all your new visitors.
Hanging some nesting materials in the yard will also encourage Goldfinches and others to take up residence at your place. Timing is key, so have materials out before the nesting season begins. Whether commercial nest materials, or easy home made ones, you’ll entice more feathered friends to stick around!
habitat and thistle feeders for Goldfinches
Although American Goldfinches are a rather common songbird, it’s a favorite of many backyard birders. With a nickname of “yellow canary” the summer plumage of male Goldfinches is almost electric! Keeping thistle feeders out year-round will almost ensure that vibrant yellow color will grace your yard in warmer months.
Habitat plays an important role in attracting any wildlife, and sometimes doing less work is better than doing more. Dandelions happen to be a favorite of goldfinches’, as are spent marigolds, cosmos, zinnias and coneflowers. Don’t dead-head these flowers, better off to leave them as treats for birds to feast.
Water is another key element in attracting finches or any wildlife for that matter. Fresh water in a birdbath will always provide an excellent resource for my species of birds. Keep a fresh water source near thistle feeders to further entice Goldfinches to your place.
Because their nesting and breeding starts so late in the season, you can expect a great increase of activity at thistle feeders in July and August. Parents feed chicks thistle exclusively, so feeders can get rather crowded. And because of their sweet nature, a Goldfinch is more likely to fly away from a crowded thistle feeder than to fight for a perch. If you’d like to attract these super-sweet songbirds, you may want to consider adding an extra thistle feeder in your yard this season.
Upside Down finch feeders are Selective
Got House Finches? Got Purple Finches? Want a feeder for Goldfinches only? Then you’ve got to try upside down finch feeders. That’s exactly why they make them…for Goldfinches only. They are the only finches (in North America) who will eat while perched upside down.
Goldfinches’ electric yellow plumage has earned them the nickname “wild canary”. And although their plumage does fade in winter to an olive-drab color, continue feeding them throughout the year to have that bright yellow color grace your yard in spring and summer.
Finch feeders are a perfect choice for yards and gardens as the thistle (or nyjer) seed is a non-germinating seed. This means no weeds below feeders. It’s a pleasure to watch these sweet birds as well, as feeding habits are more likely to have them stick around pecking seed after seed, as opposed to grabbing a seed and flying off with it.
All finches, plus other birds will use finch feeders filled with thistle seed. If you’re wanting to be more selective and attract American Goldfinches only, go for an upside down finch feeder this year. Happy Birding!