Where did my goldfinches go?

I had a regular visit from a few on a daily basis.  Not sure if I saw 1 in the past five days.  Feeder still has thistle - not filled to the top, but should be enough.  I fill it higher just to see if that makes a difference.

Anyone else experiencing a drop-off in finches?


We've been seeing them lately visiting our wildflowers.  They were here over the weekend.


I get them for a few days each year and then they disappear. Just fickle I guess. Plant Coneflowers, they can't resist them.



We have plenty of cone flowers (they self seed!), so we also have plenty of gold finches.


tomcat said:

We have plenty of cone flowers (they self seed!), so we also have plenty of gold finches.

 I'm guessing you don't have deer or woodchucks. Mine did fine early that season and then as we neared autumn they were whittled down to the ground by the critters.


In 24 years, I have only seen deer in our yard once (we are relatively close to Springfield Ave).

We do have a groundhog, but it seems to leave the front yard alone.


Hmm, the goldfinch never came back.  I finally saw one flying above today - so he's still in the area.

So - did cone flowers start blooming recently that's more enticing (around Aug 17th)?  

I recently bought a new bag of thistle.  I have a feeling they don't like this batch.


jamie said:

Hmm, the goldfinch never came back.  I finally saw one flying above today - so he's still in the area.

So - did cone flowers start blooming recently that's more enticing (around Aug 17th)?  

I recently bought a new bag of thistle.  I have a feeling they don't like this batch.

 Ya know, I am having the same issue. However, being colorblind, all the different finches and sparrows that don't have dramatic markings all, to use an unfortunate analogy, look the same to me. Even the female goldfinches are hard for me to identify whereas the males have that striking yellow body with the black/white wing patches.

Annnyway, I think my birds have either grown weary of the seed I'm putting out or the feeders might need cleaning. Today I dumped out the contents of the two sock feeders and soaked them in bleach and then washed & rinsed them to hell and back. I let them dry in the sun and refilled them with newly purchased Nyjer seed so we'll see tomorrow.

I'm also considering washing the hell out of the other feeders but for now, I have lots and lots of grackles, starlings, sparrows/finches, mourning doves, pigeons, blue jays, a couple of cardinals, 2-7 squirrels and some 3-44 chipmunks depending on the day.


They're sheltering in place.


and social distancing..

Actually, the birds are returning to brown coloring. Perhaps a tad early, but nothing is normal  in 2020.


I only had one main goldfinch.  I'm going to guess that this may be the reason:

https://blog.duncraft.com/2013/07/16/where-have-my-goldfinches-gone/

While it’s true that goldfinches love Nyjer seed above all else, it’s also true that during the summer months, they begin to shy away from including it as such a staple of their diet. The reason? They’ve got young birds to take care of, and young birds need something meatier to eat than Nyjer seed. Most birds will feed their young birds insects at this point, but goldfinches tend to stick with seed. Therefore, it’s recommended that you stop serving the Nyjer seed, store that particular feeder until the winter and instead start serving black oil sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts.


A better description than my earlier post...


“American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer. The brightening yellow of male goldfinches each spring is one welcome mark of approaching warm months.

www.allaboutbirds.org › guide › ov...

American Goldfinch Overview, All About Birds, Cornell Lab of ...



The reason? They’ve got young birds to take care of, and young birds need something meatier to eat than Nyjer seed. Most birds will feed their young birds insects at this point, but goldfinches tend to stick with seed. Therefore, it’s recommended that you stop serving the Nyjer seed, store that particular feeder until the winter and instead start serving black oil sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts.

 Okay. I have been putting the sunflower seeds in other feeders, both black oil and the sunflower in the general mixes. I do wonder if the finches and chickadees are being crowded out by the sparrows and other birds. I guess I've missed the summer's charm of goldfinches.


yes, I did feel like the sparrows were crowding them out a little as well.  But hardly have any sparrows at the feeder now either - weird.


We have all of those kinds of seeds in our various feeders but we haven't seen any goldfinches recently.  They seem to pass through each year, sometimes more than once, and we'll see a few (or sometimes many) for a week or two and then they are gone again.


Goldfinches make a couple of brief appearances but rarely hang around. Nyjer seed goes bad quickly. It never dries out so it goes bad in the sock holders and  even in feeders. Sparrows are not so crazy about it so I've thrown out most of it when the goldfinches go, so buy in tiny amounts if you want to use it.

My feeders get cleaned regularly and my hummingbird feeders every few days.

But if Goldfinches are around, they usually turn up to feast on Coneflowers.


Morganna, thanks for info about nyjer.  For years we had goldfinches at our nyjer feeder all summer, 3, 4, 5 at a time, but hardly any at all last year or this year.  I know last year's nyjer got a smell to it so i tossed it and replaced with fresh, but still no luck.  Guess i'll try again....  However, really i suspect the neighbor's feeder is luring them away.  Hope it's not that there are just fewer of them around.


OMG!! I saw not one but two bright yellow males at the Nyjer seed sock feeder today. Yeah, I know, pics or it didn't happen but I was too stunned to remember to get my phone.  I even got to hear that little chirp they do when they do that rollercoaster ride fly away.


It's a tiny pic but I didn't want to scare him away. Haven't seen his brother today. They're shedding the yellow.


bikefixed said:

It's a tiny pic but I didn't want to scare him away. Haven't seen his brother today. They're shedding the yellow.

 How cool! I'm ready to pick up some Nyjer now!


Morganna said:

 How cool! I'm ready to pick up some Nyjer now!

 I'll be clearing out my supply until next spring. Need some?


Yesterday in Metaphysician’s front yard I saw 6 goldfinches at once

(Unfortunately because when I shut my car door they all flew up and away together - sigh)

They had  been feasting on his cone flower seed heads 

They were the most goldfinches I had ever seen in one place 


bikefixed said:

 I'll be clearing out my supply until next spring. Need some?

 Just saw this, thank you, I already ordered online.




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