Attract goldfinches to your garden: 5 tips, tricks and tips


The goldfinch’s shimmering plumage and melodious song make it one of the most graceful birds in our country. How to attract goldfinches to your garden? A first lead: its name comes from Latin cardus, thistle, his favorite food …

Who is the goldfinch?

Of the different species of goldfinches, the most famous is undoubtedly the goldfinch elegant (Carduelis carduelis). This bird of the finches family can be recognized at first glance with its mask red lively underlined by a black line around the beak. Its coffee-colored body features a white chest and black wings punctuated with stripes. yellow gold. The bird, much coveted for its beauty and harmonious song, is on the red list of species threatened in France edited by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). French law makes his detention subject to compulsory obtaining of the certificate capacity.

Role of the goldfinch in the garden

The European goldfinch is one of the rare predators the gregarious caterpillar which causes significant damage in orchards: the cherry moth, this moth of the moth group. The sparrow also attacks thehyponomeute European charcoal and apple tree. It also frequents poorly maintained areas, wasteland where it finds seeds of weeds. Finally, by extracting the seeds contained in thorny plants without hurting themselves, it contributes to the control of sometimes troublesome plants in the vegetable garden. 5 tips to attract this beautiful bird which takes part in the cleaning of the gardens.

1 – Choose the right plantations for the goldfinch

To attract the goldfinch to your garden, start by recreating the environment it usually frequents by planting vegetation from which it naturally consumes the seeds:

  • Herbaceous plants of the family asteraceae (formerly called “composites”): thistles, cirses, panicauts, teasels, burdocks, groundsel and centaury;
  • Of colorful flowers like sunflowers but also asters, purple coneflower, shaggy rudbeckies. Among the colorful flowers, you can also choose daisies, cosmos, marigolds, poppies and zinnias. Do not prune them after flowering as goldfinches feed on their seeds even when they are wilted.

2 – Prepare a feeder for the goldfinch

Choose a feeder that allows the goldfinch to hang on the edges at different angles and avoid those with perches that attract larger birds. Prefer a feeder with wire mesh from where the passerine will come out the seeds with its small beak. Hang the container about 1.5 m above the ground at the end of a branch and away from Wall so as to prevent certain predators (such as cats) from disturbing it during its meal. Think of empty half-full feeders because the seeds placed at the bottom will accumulate moisture and compact to the point that the goldfinch will no longer touch it. Clean the feeders every two weeks with bleach to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

3 – Feed the goldfinch

Offer the goldfinch seeds of thistle, also called seeds of Niger (about 75% of your mixture so as not to attract squirrels and other birds). These passerines also love the seeds of sunflower and safflower (shelled), canary seed, hemp seed, millet, evening primrose grasses, teasel, chicory, dandelion, nettle, common groundsel, white chickweed. He doesn’t disdain (unsalted) peanuts and chopped walnuts. In city parks and gardens, the bird also appreciates seeds trees such as birches, alders, plane trees or pines. Precaution : if you start feeding, continue all year round so as not to disturb the birds’ habits.

4 – Give water to the goldfinch

Don’t forget to have the bowls water for hydration and swimming: goldfinches will stop there for a quick sip or a vigorous bath. Be sure to clean the containers regularly to avoid the formation of bacteria and fill them with fresh water even more often in the hot season. To increase your chances of bringing it to your garden, you can install a pool and decorate it, why not, with a dripper or a fountain that will attract the sparrow with the noises of splashing. Preferably place them near trees and flowers that attract goldfinches. It is preferable that the basin is shallow to promoteaccess to this little bird.

5 – Encourage the nesting of the goldfinch

Provide shelter secure pwill allow the goldfinch to raise its chicks in peace. These birds do not nest in cavities and therefore will shun birdhouses. The sparrow will happily frequent your garden if it has large trees, conifers, shrubs dense deciduous, thorny bushes or a bushy hedge from which the bird can observe the surroundings and take refuge in case of danger. It will usually make its nest (a delicate cut of dry grass) at a low height, on a fork at the end of a leafy branch.

Last tip

If the goldfinch is a common bird in France, the evolution of its numbers remains worrying. Since 2001, it has lost more than half of its population due in particular to the scarcity of wasteland and certain plants under the effect of herbicides. On the other hand, the passerine feeds its chicks with a porridge made from insects and in particular aphids which can be contaminated by pesticides. This is why it is strongly advised not to use treatments that would eliminate or poison the natural food sources of goldfinches.

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