How to Attract Goldfinches
How to Attract Yellow Finches
The yellow finch, also known as the American goldfinch or by the scientific name Spinus tristis , is a small bird native to North America that features bright yellow plumage (feathers) and black and white trimmings along its wings, tail and head.A favorite among bird watchers for its beautiful colors, pleasant song, and acrobatic, undulating flight pattern, the yellow finch is a wonderful bird to attract to your backyard. By creating an attractive habitat and providing feed preferred by yellow finches, you can hopefully attract these fine feathered friends to your backyard or garden.
Creating an Attractive Habitat for Yellow Finches
Plant shrubs and trees for nesting or find an area near you that is already grown.Yellow finches are shy birds and prefer creating nests towards the top of thick shrubs that are near open fields or rivers, and generally not deep in the forest.
- Locate a large, secluded space in your yard suitable for planting, preferably near an open grassy field or stream, and in a location with lots of sun. Plant it in an area where cats or other predator animals can't reach the yellow finches.
- Plant a mix of deciduous trees and shrubs, such as oak or elm, and evergreens, such as pine, that grow between four and 30 feet (1.2 to 9.1 m) high. These trees will attract the yellow finches for food and shelter.
- Space trees and shrubs so that the finches can be easily seen and won’t feel overcrowded.
Plant wild flowers, tall grasses, and thistles.Yellow finches are attracted to wildflowers and thistles for food, but they also use woody material and fluffy down from thistles, milkweed, cattails, and other grasses to create their nests.
Add a water feature.Yellow finches prefer nesting near a water source for drinking and bathing.
- Install an attractive birdbath or fountain. You may wish to use one with circulating water to keep water fresh and inviting to the finches.
- Create your yellow finch habitat near a stream or river if possible.
Providing Desirable Feed for Yellow Finches
Choose an appropriate bird feeder for yellow finches.Finches are classified as “cling and peck” feeders, meaning that they prefer clinging to the end of flowers or grass stocks to eat in the wild. So, choose a feeder that allows them to hang or cling on the side at varying angles and avoid feeders with perches.
- Use a mesh sock feeder. Sock feeders can be purchased from most pet supply shops, home improvement stores and online, or can be created at home using discarded mesh fabric or pantyhose that have been sewn or tied at the end.
- Select a plastic tube feeder. A wide range of plastic tube feeders specifically designed for finches can be found at pet stores or online.
Fill your feeder with seeds that yellow finches prefer.
- Add niger thistle seeds, a favorite with yellow finches.
- Include seeds from maximillian sunflowers, dandelions, millet, flax and goldenrod as well.
Place your feeder in a safe and visible location where the yellow finches could easily find the feeders.
- Protect yellow finches from predators and other animals that might eat their food or them, by hanging your feeder from a tree or pole between six and eight feet from the ground.
- Hang your yellow finch feeder away from feeders for different types of birds as yellow finches are shy eaters.
- Place your feeder in a location that is visible for you to watch the yellow finches from a distance without disturbing them.
QuestionI found a yellow finch sitting in my driveway, not moving, and I was able to pick him up. Can I keep him inside?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou really should bring him to a wildlife center. They will take care of the finch.Thanks!
QuestionWill finches feed from a feeder that is hanging on a trellis near the house?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMy four perch feeder is six feet from my sliding glass door on the deck and I often have ten or more birds taking turns getting seeds.Thanks!
QuestionWe had a finch nest, it blew down and broke, breaking 3 little eggs. We cleaned it up, and later the mom came back looking. Today the dad is stalking me, staring through my windows! What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt isn't so bad that he is stalking you. He should forget about it soon, as he will have to be a father a different time for more children. You did what you had to. When he migrates, he may come back and not remember. You may consider leaving the broken nest and eggs where they fell until after the mom and dad have seen that they broke so they don't suspect someone moved them.Thanks!
QuestionWhen do the finches appear in the southwestern U.S.?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on where you are exactly. I live in Southern California, LA area, and I have yellow finches year-round.Thanks!
QuestionBirds have nested near my finch feeder, will finches stop coming?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThey shouldn't, unless the nesting birds chase them off. To help the finches from being attacked, you can always move the feeder a few feet away, then the nesting birds shouldn't mess with them.Thanks!
QuestionShould the finch feeder have the color yellow on it somewhere in order to attract yellow finches?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerWhen you first put out the feeder, tie a yellow ribbon to it. When a flock finds it, you can remove the ribbon from the feeder.Thanks!
QuestionYellow finches are no longer coming to my feeder. Why?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe something made them scared.Thanks!
QuestionDo yellow finches migrate for the winter?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, the birds fly south when temperatures reach the freezing point.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best time to attract finches?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on where you live. They are brighter and prettier in spring and summer. In much of the U.S., especially the east, they are year-round residents. In some areas though, they are only around for the summer or winter. Find a range map online and see what the population looks like in your area.Thanks!
QuestionWill yellow finches come to Alberta, Canada?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, we live 10 minutes south of Beaumont, and we have yellow and purple finches coming to our feeder all the time.Thanks!
We live in a condo on the 4th floor. Will finches come up that high to a feeder?
I am in western Tennessee - had a lot of finches (yellow) and now they are gone in May, Do they migrate somewhere?
Do feeders need to in shade or can they hang in sun?
When can I start feeding finches in West Virginia?
Do yellow finches migrate in the winter?
- Thoroughly mix new seeds into your yellow finch feeder every month or two to keep the feed fresh and avoid clumping from moisture.
- Don’t deadhead flowers in your garden or backyard, especially marigolds and zinnias, as their seeds attract yellow finches even when the flower is dead.
- Alternate refilling your feeder from the top and the bottom to keep the seeds from packing together too tightly.
- Hyssop is another flower that finches like.
- Predators of the yellow finch include cats, squirrels, blue jays, hawks and snakes, so try to choose a habitat where these animals are less likely to endanger the yellow finches.
Things You’ll Need
Niger thistle seeds and other seeds preferred by yellow finches
Mesh or plastic finch feeder
Birdbath or fountain
Trees, shrubs, and wildflowers if planting a new habitat
Sources and Citations
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