Goldfinches are back in droves.. but they’re not quite so gold yet. Still sporting drab winter plumage, it’s not until late spring/early summer when they’ll molt again. It’s the process of shedding old worn feathers to make way for new ones, and goldfinches happen to be one of very few birds who molt twice per year.
If your nyjer feeder has been sitting for a while sans activity, the older seed may be moldy, and finches won’t eat it. Consider trashing that old seed, giving the feeder a good cleaning and refilling with fresh goods. Doing this provides a welcome sign for these cool little birds.
One of the larger capacity feeders is shown here – holding 5+ lbs. of seed. A relative of the Rainbow Finch Feeder, the Super version is even better for large finch crowds. With colorful perches and a great design, this nyjer feeder lets you fill from both the top and bottom. This eliminates stale seed piling up at the bottom. By alternating which end is filled with fresh seed, there’s never a build-up of old stuff.
There’s another bird out there now who might easily be confused with the goldfinch. About the same size, but very opposite behavior, warblers can be pretty territorial around bird feeders. Males will fight and fend off others, doing this sort of vertical flight dance where the birds look almost intertwined. Goldfinches on the other hand would rather find another feeder than fight. This is when an extra thistle sock or two come in very handy. Inexpensive and simple to use, they offer extra feeding spots during goldfinches’ busy breeding season. Oh and this warbler… he’s got a mouthful of suet and a big attitude too!
To roll out the welcome mat for finches and other songbirds, offer a consistent fresh water source and keep bird feeders clean. Adding some nesting materials in early spring will also encourage residency at your place!