These brilliant wild canaries in their springtime yellow colors can flock to goldfinch feeders in the hundreds. You can keep these birds in your backyard using simple, lifelong techniques. Goldfinch feeders come in a wide variety of designs and materials.
The first bird feeder made for the retail market was the tube bird feeder. This simple design featured a clear, plastic tube with holes, perches and a hangar. From this beginning came the specialty wild bird feeders. The goldfinch feeders are the result of these upgrades.
For many backyard birders, the seed of choice to attract goldfinches is thistle, or nyjer seed. This high fat content seed is about the size of a wisp of hair. Inside is a meaty treat for your wild birds. Using a standard tube feeder for this rather expensive seed can be extremely wasteful. Birds, by their very nature, are messy eaters. They will spill 10 seeds for every one seed they choose. The regular size holes in a standard tube feeder allow goldfinches to waste an enormous amount of thistle seed as they eat. If other birds use this same feeder, they may shovel out the thistle seed as they look for other seed choices. Thistle tube feeders were designed to help eliminate this wasteful spilling created by wild birds.
There are 5 important design features to look for when choosing your next goldfinch feeder:
1.) Look for a tube style bird feeder with tiny holes, about the size of a pencil point. The world’s best goldfinch feeders will have a tear shape hole instead of a round hole. These special portals force the wild birds to remove one thistle seed at a time, completely eliminating the shoveling habit of some birds. This simple design feature, alone, will save you money from wasted seed.
2.) The portals birds eat from should contain a metal shield around the feeding holes. Birds tend to peck at feeders in search of food. This constant pecking will enlarge the tiny holes on the plastic tubes of standard goldfinch feeders. The metal shields protect the tear shaped holes from enlarging any further. Remember, you’ll save a bundle of money if the seed stays in the feeder and not on the ground.
3.) Look at the bottom of the goldfinch feeder. If it is a tube style, be sure that the last holes are at the very bottom of the feeder. Birds can only obtain seed that is near the holes. Better still, properly designed goldfinch feeders will stop nyjer seed from going below the last portals. Some models have an inside shield that stops seed from going all the way to the bottom. Reason being, any seed below the bottom holes will never be touched and create a moldy mess. This will contaminate the rest of the seed in the goldfinch feeder.
4.) The world’s best goldfinch feeders will allow you to attach a tray to the bottom. Trays are very useful in keeping most seed shells off the ground. Yes, thistle seeds have shells that the finches have to crack open. Seed trays allow more birds to eat at the same time, increasing the attractiveness of your backyard to the large flocks of goldfinches.
5.) Cleaning a goldfinch feeder can be a tricky situation. Over a short period of time, compacted thistle seed turns into a cement-like substance that is impossible to remove. Choose a feeder with a removable bottom for simple cleaning. The best goldfinch feeders allow you to remove the base with a simple twist of the hand, no tools are needed.
In many areas of the country, goldfinches will be happy to entertain humans year round. Clean feeders and fresh thistle seed are the two most important ingredients backyard birders must provide to keep these magnificent wild birds around.