Brilliant Goldfinches…. who would not love to have a backyard blazing with beautiful goldfinches? Their sweet chirps and songs to the game of chase at the bird feeder are reasons enough to want to take the extra steps to attract these elusive birds. Goldfinch Feeding

When you factor in the brilliant male plumage in the heat of the summer, it is impossible to not want to have more of them to make your backyard sanctuary their home.

As a beginning bird watcher, I have tried many strategies to attract the elusive Goldfinch. Some have been successful, some not so much so. I want to share with you the strategies that have worked for me consistently so that your backyard can, too, be ablaze with the golden sunshine of Goldfinches!

Step 1: Keep Your Sanctuary Clean

Goldfinches are the fussiest of all the birds I watch in my backyard sanctuary. They are very specific in what they like… and don’t like!

Birdbaths can be the best and worst item in your backyard. Just like us, they love to have clean, clear water to drink and bathe in. Be sure to check your birdbath frequently in the spring and in the fall to ensure that pollen and leaves are not muddying up the water and driving your Goldfinches away.

Feeders get dirty very easily. Be sure to monitor your feeders regularly to ensure that there is not mold growing in the nyjer socks. If  you are using metal or plastic feeders, be sure that the seed is not stuck in the mesh, but flows freely. Also, make sure that the base of the feeder where (where the birds sit) is clean. They don’t like dirty feet!

If Goldfinches used to visit your backyard sanctuary but no longer do, be sure to inspect the birdbath and the food source for your Goldfinches. They will likely return to their sanctuary within a few days.

Step 2: It’s A Thistle

Goldfinches have a very particular appetite…. For Thistle (or Nyjer) seed. Nyjer (as named in 1988 by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry) is a type of oilseed. It is popular because, after sterilization, it will not sprout if spilled. It is also a bird favorite because of the exceptional energy source it provides during mating as well as the winter months. (During the winter months, birds require more oil and a higher caloric intake in order to store fat to survive colder temperatures.)

What is Nyjer? The basic nutritional components of Nyjer are:Nyjer_Sock

  • 35 percent fat (25 percent minimum)
  • 18 percent protein (16 percent minimum)
  • 18 percent fiber (20 percent maximum)
  • 12 percent moisture (maximum)

Nyjer socks are the easiest way to attract Goldfinches – it has been my experience they like to hang from the sock and eat instead of sitting on a metal or plastic mesh feeder. This little black seed is more expensive than other commercial wild bird seed, but if you want to attract and keep Goldfinches… it is well worth the price!

(Do you want to see more of my favorite Goldfinch feeders? Click HERE to see my reviews and recommendations!)

Goldfinches are social birds but do not like to share very well. They appreciate having their own feeder away from your main feeder station so that they can eat at will without having to compete for food at the main station.

Step 3: Patience

Like anything else worthwhile, patience is a key ingredient in attractive Goldfinches. Remember I said that Goldfinches are one of the fussiest birds I watch? They are also the shyest… After buying Nyjer feeders, separating their feeding stations, and putting out crystal clear water in their bath, the Goldfinches still did not come. I became frustrated… I thought I would never see a beautiful Goldfinch in my backyard sanctuary.

What changed? I STOPPED changing things… Goldfinches don’t like change. If you change their water, birdbath, sock location, type of feeder, etc… they will disappear (at least for a little while). They are skittish birds that don’t like loud noises or change in their environment. So, if you build your sanctuary and have all the right tools to attract Goldfinches… LEAVE IT ALONE (at least for a month or two). If you leave it alone – they WILL come. Just be patient!


Goldfinch Migration Pattern

Goldfinch Migration Pattern

One of the most asked question is, “Are Goldfinches in my area?” The left shows the migration pattern of Goldfinches. If you are in the green – you are fortunate to be able to see these wonderful birds.

So, here we are… My top three tips for attracting (and keeping)more goldfinches in your backyard sanctuary. Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share? I’d love to hear them! Leave me a comment below and tell us about them.


If you are looking for Nyjer or other Backyard Bird supplies, Click Here! ~

Thanks again for reading and enjoy watching Goldfinches flock to your backyard bird sanctuary!

~Ginger & Lori



3 Steps to Attract Goldfinches — 6 Comments

  1. Very well laid out plan to attract Goldfinches.

    I’m located in Nova Scotia, Canada and don’t even know if we have them up here. In the summer time my boyfriend and I attract a lot of Bluejays (whom I LOVE to watch) and Mourning Doves (which are his favorite) in our backyard birdfeeder.

    • Thank you for your feedback! Goldfinches are found in the US all year long, however, they may migrate towards your area during breeding season. I added a migration map so that you can see where these beauties reside! We have Mourning Doves – I love their coo’s in the morning!

  2. Positively soothing to my inner self, beautiful lay out and I must add, I learned a lot about the Golden Finch. I would like to do this again someday. I am a US Navy man myself and harbor strong feelings for comrades. May the peace of helping people see beauty bring you joy always

    • Thank you for your service! I proudly served as a Navy Corpsman 😉

      I am glad that you enjoyed the information on the Goldfinch… they are among my personal favorites in my backyard sanctuary. Again, thank you for your service and peace to you in your journey.


  3. I can truly say I’ve never seen a Goldfinch in my yard. I live in SE Missouri. They are beautiful birds and I would love to have them in my yard. Your site is very informative on the subject. Thank you.

    • Goldfinches are truly spectacular. Have you tried hanging a Nyjer sock from your feeder? July and August are busy seasons in SE Missouri for Gold Finches. Try hanging the Nyjer socks then! The first time I hung a sock in the spring, it took several weeks, but they did come 🙂 Happy Birding!

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