How to Attract Goldfinches to Your Garden: 7 Smart Ways

Are you looking for answers to how to attract goldfinches to your garden? Read here to learn the top tips on attracting goldfinches to your property.

Do you wish to wake up and be greeted by the sweet sound of goldfinches? Goldfinches are an exquisite species of birds known for their eye-catching yellow color and white and black markings.

These characteristics make them popular among homeowners who enjoy spotting birds in their gardens.

However, attracting goldfinches can be a difficult undertaking. Difficult but possible. You can attract flocks of goldfinches to your garden by providing the appropriate living conditions for these birds.

So if you are searching ‘how to attract goldfinches to your garden,’ read on for expert answers.

Background On Goldfinches

Scientists divide goldfinches into four species: Lawrence’s goldfinch, Lesser goldfinch, American goldfinch, and European goldfinch. Three of these four species, American, Lawrence’s, and Lesser, call the United States their home.

Your chances of spotting these birds are high if you live in the country’s northern ends. In contrast, residents of southern regions may only spot these birds during the months when they are not breeding.

Goldfinches have delicate, long beaks that can reach seeds from teasels and thistles, which may be out of reach of other birds.

Aside from these characteristics, their distinctive melodies and vivid coloring (yellow wing patch and red face) help distinguish them from other birds.

How to Attract Goldfinches to Your Garden

Invite Goldfinches to Your Garden

Below are a few tried and tested tips to attract goldfinches:

1. Scatter Nyjer Seeds in Your Garden

What better way to attract a specie of bird than to offer it its favorite food?

Goldfinches love feeding on Nyjer seeds. Pronounced NYE-jer, you can also find these seeds under the names nyger, niger, or thistle.

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Every ornithologist you consult for answers on ‘how to attract goldfinches’ will advise you to offer them Nyjer seeds.

  • These are tiny black-colored seeds stocked with oil, proteins, and sugars. They are native to India, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
  • Although they are a favorite for many bird species, the finch family is one specific specie that cannot resist them.
  • If you scatter Nyjer seeds in your garden at night, you may witness various species of birds, like mourning doves and ground juncos, feasting on them in the morning.
  • Some homeowners may also try to stock their bird feeder with Nyjer seeds.
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However, the chances of them sliding out of the bird feeder are high due to their tiny size. The best method of offering Nyjer seeds to goldfinches is to fill them in tube-like feeders. 

2. Offer A Source of Water

Goldfinches are drawn to the sound of splashing water and like bathing in bird baths, especially in the summer.

These bird baths serve as a water supply and a place to cool down. Look for a shallow basin to accommodate these small birds when purchasing a bird bath.

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Buying a bird bath with a fountain or dipper is a plus since the sounds of splashing water can attract them from long distances. Regularly clean and sanitize the bird bath to avoid disease or algae formation.

3. Offer Fresh Seeds at All Times

Goldfinches are picky birds. Therefore, they don’t like feeding on dirty, clumpy, or soggy seeds. These birds are incredibly picky when it comes to Nyjer seeds.

  • Fresh Nyjer seeds feature a dark shade of black color and are an oily texture.
  • However, these seeds can dry out swiftly. When Nyjer seeds become dry, they develop a brown hue and usually lose most of their oil content.
  • Therefore, dry Nyjer seeds may lack appropriate energy sources, which can be evident in their taste.
  • Many experts compare dry Nyjer seeds to coffee beans. It is possible to tell the difference between a fresh and tasty rich bean and a dried-out one.
  • As a result, when purchasing Nyjer seeds to feed goldfinches, ensure you don’t compromise on quality. Always buy these seeds from a reputable supplier and examine them well to verify they are fresh.
  • Purchase the seeds only if the bag or container is clear and you can see the contents. Look for indications of dusty or dried-out seeds.

Remember that most retailers heat Nyjer seeds to keep them from germinating and growing weeds. The problem is that if the oil in the seeds becomes overheated, it could dry up. This emphasizes the need to inspect the seeds before buying them.

Moreover, experts recommend purchasing a small, preferably two to three-pound bag of Nyjer seed. Determine the quality of the seeds and see how quickly you run out of them. Repurchase accordingly.

Doing so will allow you to find the seeds of your liking and also prevent you from ending up with a 10-pound bag of dried-out Nyjer seeds.

Avoid putting a large amount of Nyjer seeds in your bird feeder. Instead, fill the bird feeder around 2-3 quarters and wait until it’s empty to fill it out again.

3. Entice Them with Shelled Sunflower Seeds

Apart from Nyjer seeds, sunflower seeds are another top favorite for goldfinches.

We advise you to put out shelled sunflower seeds because these birds enjoy cracking open these seeds with their tiny beaks.

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When purchasing sunflower seeds for goldfinches, make sure you don’t purchase the striped variety since goldfinches may find it difficult to break the thick shells.

Instead, stick to stocking your birdfeeder with shelled black sunflower seeds.

One issue you will face when putting our sunflower seeds for goldfinches in your garden is that it will also attract other birds like woodpeckers, chickadees, sparrows, nuthatches, cardinals, etc.

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4. Pay Attention to Seed Placement

Goldfinches can be easily startled and are cautious of bird feeders. They may leave your garden and never return if they feel the slightest threat.

As a result, you must pay close attention to the location of the bird feeders to ensure that goldfinches feel secure collecting food from them.

The ideal bird feeder placement is approximately 10 to 20 feet from bushes, shrubs, or trees.

This will help goldfinches escape to a safer location if they detect a predator nearby. Doing so is a great way to entice goldfinches to visit your bird feeders.

5. Offer Nesting Opportunities

When birds are looking for areas to settle down, their main goal is to look for a food source and safe nesting sites.

Most homeowners put out birdhouses when attracting birds. However, this may not work for goldfinches.

These birds are known as cavity-nesting species, meaning they prefer digging their nesting location inside trees.

To encourage goldfinches to nest in your garden, you must plant ample trees and provide natural nesting materials like thistle and dandelions.

Protect the nesting materials from rainfall to maintain this fluffiness and attract goldfinches towards them.

6. Plant Seed-Bearing Vegetation

As discussed above, providing appropriate feeding opportunities is the best way to attract any bird to your garden. Seeds are the key component of the goldfinches diet.

These birds prefer feeding on seeds from grasses, shrubs, or flowers.

So why not leverage that to attract them to your garden? Some of the best choices of seed-bearing vegetation for attracting goldfinches include:

  • Dandelions
  • Daisies
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Coneflowers
  • Asters
  • Sunflowers
  • Poppies

Offering nesting opportunities is also a great way to attract goldfinches to your garden.

These birds build their nests out of the fluff from delicate plants like milkweed, cottonwood, and cattails.

These birds wait to nest later than other birds for these plants to generate the plant-down, which they use to construct their nests.

Important note! Avoid planting Burdock when aiming to attract goldfinches to your garden. These birds are attracted to Burdock seeds.

However, they are prone to get caught in the plant’s burrs, which can be problematic because they may be unable to release themselves. 

7. Maintain a Safe Environment:

Be cautious to keep dangerous animals away from the feeding area.

Put the feeders at a distance of at least ten feet from any bushes or other spots in the yard where cats or other animals may potentially hide.

To stop squirrels from reaching the bird feeders, you can block their paths using baffles.

why aren’t finches coming to my feeder?

There might be a number of factors at play if you’re not seeing finches at your feeder, including the following:

Incorrect Type of Seed:

Finches have a strong preference for sunflower seeds and nyjer (thistle) seeds. It’s possible that they won’t be interested in the project if you use a different kind of seed.

Location of the Feeder:

Finches might not feel comfortable visiting the feeder if it is located too close to the ground, in a busy location, or among bushes where other animals can hide from their prey.

They like bird feeders placed in secluded and protected areas.

poor seed quality

Finches will avoid eating the seed if it is stale, mouldy, or moist, all of which are indicators of poor seed quality. Make certain you are utilising fresh seed and storing it in the appropriate manner.

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If other birds that are larger or more aggressive are dominating the feeder, finches may choose to avoid the area. It’s possible that you’ll need to set up some extra feeders.

Season of Nesting:

Finches have very particular behaviours when it comes to their nests.

It is possible that they will not visit the feeders as regularly throughout the late spring and summer months since they will be preoccupied with raising their young and finding food in the wild.

  • Be patient if, after addressing all of these issues, finches still don’t come despite your best efforts.
  • There are occasions when it takes some time before birds learn about new sources of food.
  • You may also make your garden more inviting to finches by adding water sources and planting native plants that they like eating.


Q: What Is The Ideal Nesting Location For Goldfinches?

Goldfinches like to nest in locations with scattered shrubs and trees. Their nest comprises natural materials such as moss, lichens, grass, and wool.

Q: Which Seeds Are Best For Attracting Goldfinches?

Nyjer seeds are the top favorite food for goldfinches. These seeds are protein-rich and easier to consume for smaller-beaked birds.

Q: Can I Feed Eggs To Goldfinches In My Garden?

Eggs are a rich source of protein and incredibly healthy for goldfinches, especially during the breeding season.

You can buy pre-made egg-based feed from the local store or make your own at home.

Q: Is It Okay To Give Meat To Goldfinches?

Goldfish are categorized as herbivores, meaning they only consume plants. They like to eat seeds, which also makes them granivorous.

This is a phrase used to describe creatures that primarily feed on seeds from plants.

Q: How Rare Are Goldfinch Sightings?

You will likely see goldfinches if you live in North America. They are abundant in locations with bird feeders and thistle plants.

Q: do goldfinches migrate?

Goldfinches migrate. Some populations migrate seasonally, while others stay put.

American Goldfinches travel south in late summer and early fall from northern North America. Spring brings them north.

Q: Goldfinch Feeders Squirrel-Proof

Many squirrel-proof bird feeders work differently. Squirrels are smart and nimble enough to approach bird feeders.

However, tube feeders with weight-sensitive perches shut the feeding ports when bigger animals like squirrels try to get the seed.

A baffle and setting feeders at least 10 feet from trees or buildings can also deter squirrels.


The tips discussed above can help those asking ‘how to attract goldfinches to your garden‘ to attract flocks of goldfinches to their outdoors successfully.

Remember, the key secret to attracting goldfinches is Nyjer seeds. If you put Nyjer seeds in bird feeders, you will likely have goldfinch sightings in your garden soon.