Attracting Goldfinches with Nyger Seed and Perseverance
Here on the Ivel Valley farm we’ve been feeding the birds for years. The shelter of the nearby woods, the vast landscapes surrounding us and the array of plants and flowers on our farm mean that we’re lucky enough to see a variety of unique and rare birds all year round.
However, despite our sightings of Nuthatches, Woodpeckers and Tree Creepers, there remained one common garden bird that alluded us for quite some time. According to the 2018 RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, Goldfinches were seen in more than two thirds of UK gardens this year, yet at the start of 2018 we hadn’t seen any in over a year.
So what did we try?
It’s common knowledge that Goldfinches like Nyger Seed. The tiny African seed is ideal for finches with small beaks that nip through the nyger husk to get to the seed inside so we started out by adding a Goldfinch Finder to our feeders in the autumn of 2017. The Goldfinch Finder is a specialised Nyger feeder, featuring tiny entrance holes that only a Goldfinch beak can fit through, making it difficult for any other birds or wildlife to feed from. As a result, other animals tend to leave these feeders alone so the Goldfinches will never struggle to find food.
After a few weeks (rotating with fresh nyger seed) we finally saw our first Goldfinch! One solitary Goldfinch at first, presumably on the hunt for food. We know that Goldfinches usually stick together in large groups (called a ‘charm’) so we had high hopes that more would be on the way… and they were!
Another week or so later we had two, three, then four Goldfinches fighting for room on our Goldfinch Finder. So we decided to add some more nyger feeders to our garden, adding on the Ring-Pull Nyger Feeder as well as a Bird Lovers Nyger Feeder.
Now, with 6 months of perseverance, we have anything from 6 to 8 Goldfinches on our feeders at any one time! And not only do they clear us out of nyger seed on a daily basis, we’ve also discovered that our Goldfinches love Sunflower Hearts, too, with many actually choosing them over the nyger on offer.
So if you’re looking to attract Goldfinches to your garden then we would recommend a combination of:
- Specialist Nyger Feeders (a Goldfinch Finder is ideal to start with at only £3.49)
- Rotating Nyger Seed (to keep it fresh)
- Sunflower Hearts (in a normal seed feeder)
Here are some of the beautiful Goldfinches from our farm: