Goldfinch Visits & Tips for Attracting Birds to the Garden

13 December 2020

It's been cold, dark and raining most days but that hasn't stopped the birds from visiting the garden. With all the lockdown restrictions and tier systems now in place, I've missed exploring different nature reserves as that's something that really helps with my mental health. But as I haven't been able to explore many places as usual, I've still been enjoying watching all the wildlife that visits the garden and that's something that has been keeping me going throughout the difficult times. 

There's been more birds than ever visiting the garden and I think that has something to do with the fact that I have been providing a different variety of foods for the birds. I've been putting out sunflower hearts which is a popular one with the house sparrows and blue tits. I've also put out fat balls, suet pellets and suet filled coconut halves, which is always a favourite for the gangs of starlings that visit each day. 

It was on a Thursday morning, I was doing some washing up in the kitchen and looking up every now and then to watch the birds enjoy their morning breakfast. I looked up at a random moment and was amazed to see on one of the feeders, for the very first time ever, a goldfinch! I sprinted into the living room, grabbed my camera and ran back to the kitchen where I managed to get a few photos of the goldfinch on the feeder. It enjoyed a feast of sunflower hearts, flew off up into the neighbours tree and perched on a branch for a while. As I was watching it, I noticed another goldfinch beside it on another branch, I just couldn't believe it, after all this time to finally see a goldfinch in the garden! 

I haven't seen it since that morning, but I've been keeping an eye out and hoping that one day it will return and maybe bring along some friends. It's such a wonderful feeling to see new wildlife visiting the garden, it's a warming feeling in my heart knowing that I have provided a welcoming space for a different species that I have never seen in the garden before.

If you would like to attract more birds into your garden, with or without a garden, I thought I would share a few tips! 

1. Set up a bird feeding station. A few months ago I decided to purchase a feeding station as some of the feeders were getting knocked off the trees in the garden. It took a day for the birds to figure out how to use it, but now it's such a joy to watch lots of different birds using it and there's plenty of room for different feeders. If you don't have a big garden or no garden at all, you can have window feeders which stick to the glass on the outside of your window!

2. Provide a range of different feeds such as sunflower hearts, fat balls, coconut halves, suet bites etc. Once you start to see what types of birds visit your garden you will then be able to figure out what foods they prefer. My house sparrows, blue tits and robins enjoy sunflower hearts the most!

3. Provide water. You could have a small dish of water, water bowl attached to a feeding station or even a mini pond which birds will like to drink from.

4. Plant bird-friendly and insect-friendly plants. You could plant trees or have a selection of bushes in the garden to provide a place for birds to perch and hide amongst. Birds love insects and where there's plenty of plants, there's plenty of insects.

5. Keep your feeders clean and topped up. Hygiene is really important when it comes to feeding the birds in the garden. There's been many reports of avian flu going around and so keeping the feeders clean is important for looking after the birds that visit your garden. I tend to half fill my feeders, wait until they are empty and then give them a deep clean.

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