Help in attracting Goldfinches

Hi all I’m new to bird watching. I put out a pole feeder with 3 hanging feeders 4 months ago. One feeder is sunflower hearts, the other is suet balls and last one is nyger seeds. 

The sunflower hearts are eaten by robins, blue tits occ and the occ sparrow. The suet ball is the most popular with blue tits and robins coming everyday. 

My question is why hasn’t my nyger feeder been touched by goldfinches?? 

I see goldfinches at the front of my house on the green near road so why won’t they come in my backyard?  I’m so desperate to see them but no luck yet. I do have a big garden with conifers all the way round, we have recently planted a tree. Also I’ve planted sunflowers, marigold and teasel. Not sure what else I can do. Any suggestions. 


  • Hi,

    Teasel will bring them in when they go to seed. Not sure if you sowed them this year or bought plants? But, whichever year they flower then go to seed, the goldies will find them. Niger is good, but it's that time of year where they're finding other options. If they aren't even looking at sunflower hearts, there must be plenty of choice in your area.

  • Thank you for your prompt reply.
    It was teasel plants that I planted around 3 weeks ago so it will take some time before they flower.
    We have a couple of neighbors down the road and they have goldfinches and other species all the time, I’m so jealous I guess I have to be patient
  • Apart from the food, Goldfinches are particularly wary, so make sure the feeder is close to cover, ie near the surrounding trees on one side. If it is plum in the middle of the garden they may not like the exposed position. Similarly, make sure it is sited away from things that make it approachable by cats like a fence or shed.
    Apart from that, I found patience was a must when waiting for Goldfinches. When I started to feed the birds in my garden a few years ago, it took many months before the Goldfinches got used to the idea. They aren't as quick as tits to learn or try new things. They would even visit the garden occasionally looking for dandelions and other seed-heads but wouldn't go near the feeders (or would perch on top of them without realising what was inside). However, when they do eventually catch on, they will become the most reliable (and greedy) customers. You just have to give them time.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Our Goldfinches only seem to like sitting on perches, they don't like the caged fatballs (anti-squirrel) or the caged seed feeder. We have a sprung feeder hung from a hanging basket hook and they will contentedly sit their stuffing their face with a seed mixture of "finch feed" from the local pet shop with added niger seed.

    Our nervous Great Spotted Woodpeckers also appreciate that feeder, in fact, we've had a lot of different finches and they all go to that feeder in preference to the others.

    Not all birds have the dexterity - so Tits and Nuthatches are quite able to cope with caged feeders, and hanging off things, while robins and finches are more partial to ground feeding and easy perches - we watched a robin take some time to master getting into a cage.

    Not my best pic but shows a couple munching away contentedly on a perch right next to the house.

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Hi Nigel thsnks for the advice.
    I’m trying to send a photo of my garden with the feeder but I can’t seem to do it. Is there another way that I send a photo and maybe you could tell me if the feeder is in the right place?
  • In reply to IanMSpencer:

    Hi Ian
    That feeder is different from mine and I was considering changing it, so will have a look

  • Can I ask where you purchased the feeder?
  • It was a (brilliant) gift but they are readily available from most garden centres and our local pet shop has them.

    It has a spring so it closes up with squirrels. Ours can just stay open enough for the woodpecker to peck through the narrow gap.