Messy, Wasteful Goldfinches

In my last thread about goldfinches here I was complaining about the distinct lack of them. Now I get so many that I simply can't fill the sunflower heart feeders fast enough. Yesterday, I counted seven on the feeders and more in the trees waiting to take their turn. 

My problem however is that after watching these little blighters closely for  a few days, I've noticed that they are very wasteful - often throwing 3 to 4 perfectly good seeds to one side before actually grinding on one. I know that they usually split the seed when they chew (is chew the right word?) and theres waste as a result of that, but they are literally throwing a lot of seeds to one side before they get one they want to bite on.

The Wood Pigeons usually come and hoover them up, but I think even they are sick of soggy sunflower hearts by now.  I'm also worried that too much waste around on the ground will attract vermin and I don't think my Neighbours would appreciate seeing the larger furry mammals running around the garden.

Does anyone have any tips?

I have thought about grinding the Sunflower hearts up a bit in a chopper\blender as I think its the larger ones that are getting thrown to the side. Anyone had to do this?

I love having the Goldies in the garden but the mess and waste is bugging me a bit. 

By the way, got the first baby Goldies in the garden yesterday and today. I did get some photos too :) I'll post some once I've cropped them as they are very small in the frame.

Thanks for any responses people.

John

I just started a Flickr feed  recently (Although I've had an account since 2011) 
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  • In reply to doggie:

    Hi Alan,

    Is there any chance you could divulge the name of your supplier? The bags I have do have a lot of bigger sized seeds in them. I'm almost certain its the bigger ones that are being discarded.

    Also, I don't think a seed tray would help in this scenario, they are literally throwing them a good few feet from the feeding station :|

    Cheers again,

    John

    I just started a Flickr feed  recently (Although I've had an account since 2011) 
    Please take a look and tell me what you think.

  • In reply to doggie:

    Thanks for the links, Alan. I see they sell Sunflower heart chips for the same price as the full seed. I may give these a try when I next come to buy.

    Those seed trays only fit on the CJ Wildbird feeders don't they? I would have to get new seed feeders also. However I may be able to 'Knock something up' that will do the same job on my existing feeders. I'll look into this in due course.

    Thanks again for the links and advice.

    I'm open to any other suggestions :)

    Edit> I just saw the other thread (Messy sparrows) about putting a sheet down. Not sure this is feasible but I'll give it some thought. 

    John

    I just started a Flickr feed  recently (Although I've had an account since 2011) 
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  • In reply to John D:

    Hi John I was just looking at your post, and wa wondering did u have any noticeable improvements in the amount of waste from the goldies with using the new seed? And has it stopped the pigeons? As I have the same issue, with ferel pigeons literally waiting on the roofs and as soon as a goldie comes along to feed, 2-3 sometimes even 10 ferels come sailing down to Hoover up, trampling the plants and lawn while they are at it, which in the winter when the grass is constantly damp, causes a lot of mess!! Cheers!!

  • In reply to lee hartley:

    Hi Lee,

    To be honest, I'm just about rid of the larger sunflower hearts now and will fill the feeders up with the kibbled stuff over the weekend I should think. I'll post back here when I have some further updates for you.

    FYI, I attached some seed trays (99p plastic plant pot trays from B&Q) to the bottom of my hearts feeders recently. These worked like a charm to catch discarded seeds (Too big) or splinters from seeds splitting when the birds were chomping on them. You'd be AMAZED at how much is wasted...I was flabbergasted to be honest.

    The little Goldies (of which there are many) were very happy to sit in the tray eating the discarded seeds and bits of crumb....

    ....That was until the Pigeons and Collared Doves learned how to perch on it and empty the feeder in a day!!

    Needless to say I had to remove the trays in the end. I have put the trays back on the odd times to confuse them darn Doves though (Doesn't seem to bother the Goldies)

    I'll keep you posted re the new seed.

    John

    I just started a Flickr feed  recently (Although I've had an account since 2011) 
    Please take a look and tell me what you think.

  • In reply to John D:

    Thank you!! And yes as I suspected the pigeons would in time learn that the tray is in actual, a perfect perch for them!! As I say one of my feeders a have a squirrel blocking cage with a tray inside which obviously stops the pigeons 'clinging on', but noticeably the numbers of visiting goldies has declined, Andrew neighbours 'none caged' feeders have been swarmed with red and gold!! Maybe we just have to accept that the pigeons have just as much right been there feeding as the smaller birds do?? I don't no a solution. Any views or experiences would be appreciated not just by myself but I'm sure John too!!

  • In reply to lee hartley:

    We have messy Goldfinches as well as Pigeons and Collared Doves but we think of the latter two as possible Sparrow Hawk food, hoping the Sparrow Hawks will leave all the songbirds alone, should they make a visit--LOL!  We have a tray on the ground under the only sunflower hearts feeder without an attached tray to catch some of the discarded seeds, and we empty it occasionally, but with no attached tray on that one feeder, it means the doves cannot eat from that one; hence the Goldies and other small birds will have guaranteed food even if the Doves empty all the other hearts feeders before we can refill them.  We also have one feeder with a cage, but only young Goldfinches use it so far.  Good luck with all of your birds!

    Kind regards, 

    Ann

  • In reply to Gardenbirder:

    @ Lee,

    After about a week of using the new Sunflower heart chips, I can confirm theres a lot less wastage compared to the full hearts.

    There does seem to be a bit of 'dust' in with these chips but the younger Goldfinches seem to hoover that up as its easier for them to manage. I just wish I could use the seed tray because the little Goldies love sitting in it picking up any dropped fragments\chips\dust. The pesky pigeons made me take the trays off though!! Frustrating :|

    I'd advocate the use of Chips\Kibbled sunflower hearts.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    I just started a Flickr feed  recently (Although I've had an account since 2011) 
    Please take a look and tell me what you think.

  • I would be delighted to see a Goldfinch at my feeders.

    All I get are:  House & Tree Sparrows (House Sparrows by the ton), Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch and a Wren.  Anything after the Collared Dove are really infrequent sightings, so if anyone what's to swap a bird or two you can easily have some House Sparrows (joking).

    Any tips on attracting other species, gratefully received.

    Check out my website www.stuartimages.co.uk

  • In reply to Andrew S:

    I know that I'm about 18 months late to this thread but thanks for the tip about sunflower chips rather than hearts. I'm in exactly the same boat as you.

    I too was so pleased when I first saw a Goldfinch on my feeder. Now I'm thinking "you wasteful little (oh so beautiful) birds!" when there's 10 of them chucking sunflower hearts as far as they can.

  • In reply to Paul G:

    :)

    I had to stop feeding the S\Flower hearts in the end as even the chips were being thrown around. The ensuing mess resulted in sightings of rats which wasn't good.

     I only put out Nyjer seed, peanuts, wheat free seed mix (In a tray on a home made table with a guardian cage on top) and the occasional handful of suet pellets (enough for a day)

    Full of pitfalls this feeding the birds lark :)

    I just started a Flickr feed  recently (Although I've had an account since 2011) 
    Please take a look and tell me what you think.