About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Finches are not eating at my feeders

Hi there, My finches are not eating at any of my feeders. I have had the feeders up year after year, and this is the first spring that they have been shy. I see one or two briefly, but in the past, I would see five on a feeder at a time!I read that when dandelions come to seed, they may go away. Well, I thought they might be back by now. No luck. Thanks!

I couldn't keep my feeders full when the finches were changing to their bright yellow spring coats. Now there is so much natural food available, they are hopping happily about feasting in the wild. You are exactly right, American goldfinches are granivores, eating mainly dandelions and other weed seeds, grass seeds, flower heads, sometimes pine cones and also nibbling at the tender young leaves of certain plants. There is always a slow down at the feeders when the weather warms.

We did have a lot of rain however so make sure your Nyjer seed or sunflower seed is fresh and check for mold in the bottom of your feeder. Then you have to remember that finches are finicky. Don't just top off your feeder with fresh seed. Always empty the older seed (if it's still good) into a different container, fill the bottom of your feeder with new seed and top it off with the older seed. The birds tend to eat down to that certain level and then just stop. Don’t try and force them to finish their plate because they always seem to leave a little.

Goldfinches don’t nest until late summer so there is nothing holding them down to one territory and they are always scouting for new feeding sites. If you keep your feeders clean and full of fresh seed, when they do decide to nest your yard will have the best curb appeal. Flowers also help. Goldfinches will flock to any flowers that form seed heads like cosmos or black-eyed-susans or Cone flowers.

I hope this helps. Be patient and they will come back.

Related articles:
- Where do you place finch feeders? http://bit.ly/p4XHU4
- What is Nyger Thistle? http://t.co/Gg2AxQg
- Goldfinch colors: Why aren't all the goldfinches yellow? http://t.co/c57skHi
- Is There a Way to Attract More Goldfinches to My Yard? http://t.co/RB1cqWf