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Birds (goldfinch) coming to drink but not eat? (1 Viewer)

LeeUK2020

Member
I've had my feeder up for over 2 months, and have a variety of birds come to feed. I have sunflower hearts and niger seeds, hoping to attract goldfinches. Behold, 2 months later they have (I think) set up nest in my neighbour's garden, out of sight for me but they fly past my garden hundreds of times every day. They come down for a drink at my water bath in the morning and evenings, and they've perched on the feeding station but they've never eaten anything. The sunflower hearts are fresh and very popular, can anyone tell me what is going on and how I can get them to come and eat?
 

Steve

Surfing
Staff member
United Kingdom
Are there any cats about? goldfinches tend to be nervous, also they like a bit of cover to fly to if a predator appears.
 

LeeUK2020

Member
Are there any cats about? goldfinches tend to be nervous, also they like a bit of cover to fly to if a predator appears.

No cats, just me who works next to the window facing the garden. The feeders are a few metres from cover, none of the other small birds have a problem with it. The goldfinches fly to and fro usually over my garden so I'm a bit confused why they'd go further for food all the time... Any tips or just a waiting game?

I can't be sure that they're nesting, but they always return to the same tree and wait a short while before flying off again so that's my best guess
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Patience is the key. Different species have different behaviour, some confident, some shy. Also some breeding species change feeding habits and stratergies during the year. Read up on post breeding dispersal where some familiar types will head off to woodlands in family and or social groups. All you can do is provide fresh water, regular good quality food ( a variety helps ) and clean the feeders as appropriate.

A fortnight ago, several goldfinches taking sunflower hearts...... this week nothing, though I can hear them calling and singing in the neighbouring trees.

Good luck
 

Kits

Picture Picker
Steve is right, Lee, goldfinches like niger seed. They only visit the niger feeder in our garden.
 

sirensynapse

New member
Germany
Y'all should be aware that shelled sunflower seeds are generally rancid and toxic. Pure garbage. I've read Udo Erasmus' bible on fats and oils, and know of what I speak. :) Keep it in the shell.
I have a similar story with chickadees (Meise in german - and "to have a Meise" is a fun saying meaning "to be a nutter" here). I put out sunnies for them behind my girlfriend's apartment in a hanging feeder, in plain sight where they are active, but they won't touch them. A couple blocks away at her friend's place, we hung two up and the birds find and eat them readily. Strange.
 
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I have given out sunflower hearts in the past that are unsalted, for human consumption from the local grocery store. Yes, of course that is expensive, but I only add small amounts to the open tray feeders. I load up the open tray feeders with a few different varieties of nuts, seeds, dried mealworms, suet nuggets, and dried cherries for the birds to eat.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

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