With their nesting season winding down, Goldfinches abound! Their electric yellow plumage is hard to miss. Adults feed babies thistle, or nyjer seed exclusively, so large capacity or extra thistle feeders are very helpful this time of year. Even those convenient thistle socks or bags, are an excellent way to accommodate all the newcomers.
Because of their sweet nature, Goldfinches will usually just give up and fly off rather than fight at crowded thistle feeders. A fresh water source such as a bird bath is also very enticing to all songbirds, and with moving water like the dripper shown here, birds will be flocking to your yard!
Remember to keep thistle feeders out year round to enjoy these vibrant summer colors. Goldfinches’ plumage will start to fade in the fall when they molt, but the same cheery birds will hang around your yard if offered thistle seed on a consistent basis.
By and large, a fresh water source will attract more birds to your yard! The best single way to entice feathered friends is with bird baths. Many species who may never visit a feeder, or even use a birdhouse to nest, will visit a birdbath with fresh water in it. Many styles will compliment an environment nicely by using design elements that are found in nature itself.
This hand made pedestal birdbath is also hand painted. Cheery Goldfinches perched on graceful branches is such a scene found in nature. These kinds of ceramic baths really do enhance the garden or yard, and bring it to life once discovered by birds.
The bath doesn’t have to be a pedestal type either, hanging bird baths are also wonderful for attracting birds. And if it’s a close-up view you’d like, deck-mount bird baths bring the action right to your window. Hanging and deck mounted bird baths are also perfect for smaller spaces. While birds tend to bathe at ground level in the wild, raised baths are preferred if predators lurk in the yard.
The optimal water depth for bird baths is really only two to three inches. This is the depth where birds can bathe and wade comfortably. If the birdbath is deeper, a large rock may be placed in the center for birds to perch. Adding a birdbath to your yard will positively impact the numbers and different species who will visit…try it and see!
Unlike hummingbird or fruit feeders for migratory and some songbirds, finch bird feeders are a welcome addition to any garden or yard virtually year-round. You’ll be graced with the most gorgeous lemon yellow plumage in warmer months, only because Goldfinches are one of the few birds experiencing two molts per year. They’ve even earned the nickname “wild canary”.
These colorful birds flock to finch bird feeders and chow down on thistle! In fact, they eat it almost exclusively and nestlings are fed the same. This food has added benefits; squirrels ignore it, and it is non-germinating which means that spilled food won’t turn into weeds.
Some of the longer tube feeders can cause problems with clumping, damp food at the bottom. If your feeder is not busy enough to have finches eat all of the thistle, (also called nyjer seed) on a regular basis, it can clump when it gets damp, molds and turns rancid. Then the attraction for our feathered friends will quickly fade. A feeder that distributes seed more evenly is one solution to this problem. The Finches Favorite 3-Tube feeder is a perfect example of this practice. Plus you can see all 24 birds eating at once, which is a truly spectacular site!
You can also try working with your existing feeder to alleviate this problem, Something I have tried is buying a few inexpensive ping pong balls and putting them inside my finch feeder. The thistle is fine, so it flows around the ping pong balls and is available to the birds. But the balls take up space in the feeder, reducing the amount of food it holds. The result: less food in the feeder means less clumping and fresher food. You can add or remove balls until you get the right balance of food and space for your feeder and your habitat.