Many backyard birders want to know how to attract goldfinches to their yards. Goldfinches are beautiful, interesting birds, found throughout most of the Eastern US. It’s a delight to watch them flit through the yard and garden and to hear them sing. You might end up with these lovely visitors without much effort, but if you want to sweeten the deal for them, check out these tips for attracting goldfinches.

  1. Goldfinches eat small seeds. While they do sample larger seeds like millet or cracked sunflower, the most reliable feeder seed for goldfinches is Nyjer seed. Nyjer is an imported thistle, and when it’s purchased for bird feeding, the seed is sterile. Nyjer seed can be offered in a variety of tube feeders, as well as mesh feeder socks. I use this nyjer feeder and it’s been very popular with our finches.
  2. Because they’re seed eaters, goldfinches will happily cling to seed bearing flowers and snack away. They seem to prefer the brightest colors, so you’ll find that planting sunflowers, rudbeckias, cone flowers and blanket flowers will draw the goldfinches to your garden.
  3. Like all birds, goldfinches need to drink and bathe. Because they’re very small, they’ll need a shallow dish or basin. If you don’t have a separate shallow water dish, you can layer some flat stones into a larger bird bath and make it easier and safer for small birds to use the water.
Goldfinches on a nyjer tube feeder

If you’ve never seen goldfinches in your yard or garden before, you might need to work a little harder to attract their notice. Bright colors, especially yellow, seem to attract them and they prefer to have a trees or other elevated points to perch on before landing on a food source. Try planting sunflowers or black-eyed Susans and make sure your feeders are near a tree or other roost. Above all, be patient. It can take time for birds to find your feeders. Our finches visited but didn’t try out the feeder for weeks!

Getting Started Backyard Bird Watching has great tips for making your area appealing to birds of all kinds. An active yard with lots of beneficial plants and sheltering habitat will make birds, including goldfinches, more likely to spend some time eating and hanging out.