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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Goldfinch Mania

We have tons of American Goldfinches at the feeders now, all vieing for perching room. That's because all the baby goldfinches have fledged, swelling the population numbers. Finches love to feed in flocks, so they're all joined together, adults and young. The adults, looking scruffy, are turning from their yellow summer plumage into their drab, brown-gray, winter plumage. You can see clumps of the new, brownish feathers growing in amongst the molting yellow feathers on the adults.

Goldfinches seem to use the feeders more heavily now. Soon, they'll visit the feeders less and feast on the abundant, matured, wild seeds and cones in nature. That's when we'll get the question from our readers, "Where have all my goldfinches gone?"

Have faith, when colder weather sets in, and the wild seeds are eaten, they'll return to feeders. That's true also of many of the bird species that regularly use your feeders. So keep your feeders ready.

American Goldfinches breed across approximately the upper 3/4 of the contry and into lower Canada. In winter they retreat from the northernmost regions and range across much of the country including down into the South and Southwest.

11 comments:

Robert Mortensen said...

Here in the foothills north of Boise Idaho we have American Goldfinches all year. They are currently in super large flocks gleaning seeds from the very abundant wild sunflowers all over the foothills and so have already abandoned the feeders for a short season.

Hilke Breder said...

You have answered my question. All of a sudden my feeder with the sunflowers has almost no takers. Until recently I had to refill it twice a day.

Ellen said...

The goldfinches in your yard are frequent visitors to our feeders, but they also love our Purple Coneflowers! Thanks to the goldfinches, we have more coneflowers coming up every year.

theboondox said...

I was beginning to worry because I don’t remember such a sudden change in their feeding habits. Up until a few weeks ago, I was filling the feeders almost daily with black-oils and a mix. Now, in our North-western RI location, there are almost no visitors to the feeders at all and it seemed to happen almost overnight! I have also noticed they seem to be focusing on wild seeds from Coneflower, Rose of Sharon, etc. I do miss them but I know at first snowfall they’ll be counting on the feeders, once again.

Anonymous said...

I get a smattering of goldfinches here in Florida for the winter. Can you tell me what they are enjoying in your feeders?
Carole

E.Klump said...

I'm somewhat new to Michigan,close to Lake Huron, St.Clair and the Black River area. How I love the Goldfinch which are abundant in our yard. Now I know why there is no more bright yellow in the bunch. I was unaware they change in color. How do I keep birds coming to our feeders in the winter. They seem to disappear as the deep cold sets in. We would love to feed any hungry feathered ones in those cold, cold days to come. What do you suggest we put out for feed?

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

E.Klump,
We suggest you put out hulled sunflower,and/or, black oil sunflower. Goldfinches love this seed, and so do many other feeder birds. So you will feed finches and others as well.
Use several tube feeders, finches like to feed in flocks and having several feeders provides more seating room for them.
Make sure your feeders are near some cover, such as evergreens or dense shrubs. If the feeders are in a sunny protected location that is optimal for winter.

joan said...

We have had a prolific population of gold finches until this past fall and now. We keep our sunflower feeder stocked and even have some niger seed out. The only ones we have seen are two dead ones - one looked like it had a window encounter and the other one was in the leaves. They are usually here year round in Charlotte, NC area. Not now.

Keturah said...

We haven't seen goldfinches for several months in Northern Virginia. I'm wondering if it is the same all across the area.

maureen said...

We're in SW PA and used to get tons of goldfinches at our tube bird feeder (nyjer seed) every summer. They also hung around in the late summer/early fall to feed on the purple cone flowers and sunflowers in our garden. They were frequent winter visitors as well. Last summer I noticed that we didn't seem to have as many coming to the feeder and we didn't see any over the winter. It is early may and still no goldfinches...

Anonymous said...

West Hills, CA located in upper northwest corner of Los Angeles - had goldies in droves visit our feeders (oiled thistle seed refilled every month) typically Sept - May every year, but last 3 years - no little visitors EVER - or at least visibly so. Occasionally i hear some wee cries but not thistle visits. Maybe they are adapting??

Until my own sunset goes down i'll keep the feeders hanging around:)