How To Attract American Goldfinches To Your Backyard

May 12, 2023 // 11 minutes read // 2 Shares

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How To Attract More American Goldfinches To Your Backyard

Have you set a goal to attract more American goldfinches to your backyard? This may seem like a daunting and difficult task, but if you keep reading, you’ll discover the best tips, tricks, and tactics to get the job done.

There are three very effective ways to attract more American goldfinches to your backyard. Give them their favorite bird seed in their preferred bird feeder. Plant natural vegetation and other healthy seed-bearing plants in your backyard. Add a freshwater source for drinking and bathing purposes.

The tip shared above will definitely help you attract more American goldfinches to your backyard or garden. But if you’d like to learn other excellent tips and tactics in greater detail, please continue reading below. The topics that I’ll write about include:

  • Choosing the perfect bird seeds loved by American goldfinches to put in your bird feeders
  • The best seed-bearing plants to plant in your backyard to attract more American goldfinches
  • The ideal location to place your backyard bird feeders so you don’t unintentionally turn away your favorite goldfinches
  • Choosing the best water source to keep goldfinches clean, hydrated, and happy all year-round
  • and more wonderful tips and tricks

To find the best ways to attract goldfinches to your backyard, along with other powerful and effective information, please continue reading to learn the truth.

Bird Seed 101: Choosing the Perfect Bird Seeds Loved by American Goldfinches to Put in Your Bird Feeders

american goldfinch perched in feeder
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Image by Erica Kilbourn from Pixabay

As you are about to learn, not all bird seeds are created equally. Some seeds are going to be much more appealing to certain bird species than others. But it’s absolutely necessary to get the seeds right when attracting goldfinches. Otherwise, these bright and beautiful little birds will not visit bird feeders in your backyard.

Whether you’re attempting to attract small birds, many birds, or other birds, it’s an absolute must to share their favorite foods in your Nyjer feeders. I’ll tell you about the preferred bird food of American goldfinches below in full detail.

Nyjer Seeds (Thistle Seeds) – A Staple in the Goldfinch Diet

Do you know the truth about Nyjer seeds? Believe it or not, this is the favorite and preferred birdseed of American goldfinches. The best way to attract these beautiful songbirds to your backyard is to add a Nyjer feeder and keep it filled with fresh thistle seeds/Niger seeds at all times.

The Nyjer seed is actually an oily, small, and black seed that is packed with sugar, oils, and protein. This seed mainly grows in Southeast Asia, India, and Africa, and it’s definitely an all-time favorite of the American Goldfinch.

A wide range of birds enjoys eating these tasty seeds. But this is particularly preferred by members of the Finch family, including purple finches, house finches, gold finches, redpolls, and pine siskins.

Although they do not necessarily eat them out of a bird feeder, it’s possible to get mourning doves and juncos to eat them off of the ground.

As an added bonus, squirrels aren’t a big fan of these seeds. So, you can put them in your bird feeders and never have to worry about squalls attacking and devouring them while taking them away from your favorite birds.

Because this seed is so tiny, it doesn’t necessarily work in every bird feeder. Your best bet is to put it in a tube feeder, which is typically the most popular choice. Another option is to place the seeds on a platform feeder or open tray.

Black Oil Sunflower Seeds – A Big Hit amongst American Goldfinches

According to,

Another oily black seed that goldfinches enjoy is black-oil sunflower seeds. These seeds have nutritious, high-fat content birds love. The seeds are smaller and easier to crack open and some other types of sunflower seeds, making them perfect for finch’s smaller beaks.

Believe it or not, a wide range of backyard birds tend to prefer black oil sunflower seeds, so it’s a great choice whether you’re trying to attract American goldfinches, sparrows, robins, bluebirds, or other songbirds.

This tasty seed works well in just about every type of bird feeder. But overall, the best feeder for goldfinches is a tube feeder, which I highly recommend.

Other Options: A Few Other Seeds Enjoyed by American Goldfinches

Goldfinches love to eat seeds, and they definitely enjoy eating a variety of them. Some of their other favorites include:

As you can see, there are a number of different bird seed options that you can choose from to attract American goldfinches to your garden or yard. They love Nyjer seeds more than life itself, and they are definitely big fans of black oil sunflower seeds as well.

You can also feed them millet, sunflower chips, and a Finch blend that combines sunflower chips and Nyjer seeds. Any of these seeds or a combination of these options will have goldfinches swarming into your backyard or garden in no time flat.

Planting Paradise: Planting the Right Seed-Bearing Plants in Your Garden to Attract Plenty of American Goldfinches

As amazing as it is to fill your backyard with bird feeders overflowing with tasty small bird seeds, it’s even more powerful to grow seed-bearing plants that goldfinches happen to love and adore.

You may not realize this, but planting natural vegetation provides additional snacks and enticing vegetation that will truly capture the attention and imagination of goldfinches far and wide. These natural plants will not only survive but thrive in the late summer and throughout the fall.

Two natural plants that deserve to be grown in your backyard when attempting to attract the attention of American goldfinches include:

  1. Sunflowers – the sunflowers provide your favorite avian friends with a plethora of sunflower seeds, which we know they absolutely devour and love to eat. They can pluck these seeds directly from the flower head and enjoy a tasty snack at their leisure.
  2. Wild Thistle – during the late summer and early autumn, the American goldfinch will spend time harvesting thistle seeds. It directly plucks these seeds straight from the thistle plant. It looks like they’re pulling a string and unraveling it from an old threadbare sweater, which is very interesting to watch and something you’ll really enjoy seeing.

By growing these plants all around your backyard and garden or putting them around your yard’s perimeter, you’ll encourage yellow goldfinches to stop by your property and stay for a while. Combine this with your bird feeders, and your backyard is certainly the talk of the town amongst the Goldfinch population!

Have You Ever Noticed That American Goldfinches Change Color?

Do you know why? Click the button below to check it out!

Freshness Factor: Supplying Goldfinches with Fresh Seeds Daily Is an Absolute Must

You wouldn’t want to eat soggy food, right? How about soggy sunflower seeds? Does that sound appealing to you? Would you enjoy eating the clumpy and dirty mess? Absolutely not!

So, my dear friends, why would American goldfinches feel any differently than you or me? If you’re going to pack your feeders to the brim and leave them with wet, soggy bird seed, you’re going to scare your avian friends away because they want fresh food just like anyone else.

So, make sure the Nyjer seed remains fresh and has a nice oily dark black color to it. Do not let the seeds dry out or become overly soggy. Dry seeds turn a dusty brown color, which means it no longer packs a powerful nutritious punch because the healthy oils have dried up along with the calories, protein, and healthy fats.

Always make sure your small seeds are very rich in oils. This is the vital energy source that birds need to survive, thrive, and live a good life. Plus, birds know when their seeds have gone sour, and they recognize that they taste bad. They aren’t going to eat them if they aren’t healthy or nutritious.

According to, “Nancy Castillo, co-owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Saratoga Springs, New York, and author of the blog Zen Birdfeeder, points out that Nyjer contains natural high-calorie oils that attract finches. When the oils dry out, the seed loses both its food value and its flavor, and birds shun it.”

TL; DR: American goldfinches have soggy, dirty, and dried-out bird seeds. They do not contain flavor or healthy food values.

Bird Feeder Location 101: Choosing the Ideal Location for Your Backyard Bird Feeders to Keep Goldfinches Fat and Happy

Believe it or not, goldfinches will pretty much use any bird feeder that you fill with their favorite tasty seeds. Having a healthy array of seeds available for these birds is enough to attract them to your backyard.

Nevertheless, these birds are very small in comparison to some of the other larger bird species that may be hanging around your backyard. It’s important to choose the best location to keep these little yellow friends of yours safe and well-fed.

Don’t get me wrong, they’ll gladly mingle with chipping sparrows, titmice, and black-capped chickadees, but if they feel threatened by Blue Jays or other bigger birds, they’ll likely stay away from your backyard, which is why you have to keep your bird feeders separate.

According to,

… Many backyard birders prefer to have separate feeders for large and small birds or even a feeder specifically for finches. Consider a small tube feeder or special Goldfinch feeder in addition to your standard feeder, one with small purges where large birds like blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, and similar big, aggressive species can feed.

Obviously, besides picking the right location, it’s also important to pick the best feeder as well as mentioned in the quote above.

As far as the right location is concerned, please bear in mind that goldfinches are granivores, and they’re often wary of using backyard feeders in some instances, even though bird seeds make up the bulk of their diet. To make these little birds feel safe, it’s best to keep the feeders in a location where there is plenty of cover for them to stay safe and protected.

In fact, I recommend keeping your feeder within 10-20 feet of shrubs, bushes, or trees. So, if a predator were ever to enter your backyard, the American goldfinches would be able to quickly fly away and get to a safer location very fast.

By placing your birdfeeder in the right location, you’ll definitely entice American goldfinches to spend time in your backyard longer and more often.

Water, Water Everywhere: Picking the Ideal Water Source to Keep Goldfinches Hydrated, Clean, and Happy All Year-Round

image of american goldfinch using birdbath
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Image by Mohan Nannapaneni from Pixabay

For some reason, homeowners often overlook the need for a high-quality water source for American goldfinches and other backyard birds. They fail to recognize the importance because they think it’s really easy for birds to find water sources elsewhere.

Guess what? This is a major misconception in regard to backyard bird watching.

Think about it… Where will the birds get water from if you do not provide it? They can drink out of puddles when it rains, but in the summertime, rain can be scarce. It can be even more difficult to gain access to fresh water during the winter when the temperatures are freezing cold.

In all honesty, homeowners who love birdwatching should always have a heated bird bath in their backyard. It provides fresh water to drink and bathe in during the summer, and the heating element will keep the water from freezing in the winter.

Ultimately, it’s up to you as to whether or not you put fresh water in your backyard. But a heated bird bath will go a long way to convincing American goldfinches to stick around instead of going somewhere else.

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness: Tips for Keeping Your Finch Feeders Clean

Tip #1Choose feeders that are easy to clean. For easy maintenance, feeders made of plastic, glass, ceramic, or metal are the easiest to clean
Tip #2Clean your bird feeders regularly. The more often you clean these feeders, the easier it will be to maintain a healthy environment free of mold, dust, and debris
Tip #3Soak your Finch feeders first. By soaking the feeder, you’ll remove dirt and grime easier and eliminate loose debris. It will be a lot easier to scrub the feeder clean after soaking it.
Tip #4Dry the birdfeeder thoroughly after cleaning it. Placing bird seeds in a wet feeder will lead to mold and mildew growth, which will contaminate your bird seeds. This can lead to illness and unhealthy, rotten seeds
Tip teaches us to rinse thoroughly. “After cleaning, the feeder and all clean parts should be rinsed for several seconds in clear, clean water to be sure all chemical residue is removed.”

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