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Bird Seed Blocks Top Wild Food for Goldfinches

Goldfinches throughout the UK are showing a preference for garden bird feeders, including bird seed blocks, in comparison to wild food. An investigation carried out by the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) showed that the main attraction for these brightly coloured and highly sociable garden birds is sunflower hearts – a valuable and nutritious seed that is rich in oil and protein. The results of the study show that sunflower hearts are by far the most popular food type in gardens, trumping even nyger seed.

BTO's Goldfinch Feeding Survey

Between November 2015 and February 2016, as many as 5,183 British and Northern Irish households took part in the BTO's Goldfinch Feeding Survey. The aim of the study was to establish how the bird food we put out in our gardens every year affects bird populations nationally. The British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) would endeavour to answer these questions by investigating the increase in Goldfinch numbers in recent times. It is a species that's making great use of garden feeding stations. Over winter 2015/2016, participants watched their in order to report which foods their visiting Goldfinches were choosing. This would help to establish what it is that attracts these beautiful birds to our gardens.

Record numbers of Goldfinches in our gardens

More Goldfinches than ever before are being seen in gardens across the UK. As such, it was the perfect opportunity for the to investigate whether their increasing population is a result of supplementary feeding. During the survey, an average of eight Goldfinches were seen simultaneously per household. This highlights the fact that there has been a 70% increase in sightings of this bird by BTO Garden BirdWatch participants than 20 years ago.

The results of the study reveal that Goldfinches do indeed prefer to eat the supplementary food that we put out in our gardens rather than natural foods. Sunflower hearts were by far the most popular option, with nyjer seed second. The birds also took the natural foods, with teasel and thistle seed the favourites.

Bird seed blocks and sunflower hearts

With the results of the study in mind, if you want to attract Goldfinches to your garden, it's a good idea to provide them with food such as bird seed blocks and sunflower hearts. These strikingly beautiful finches have bright red faces and yellow wing patches, along with a delightful twittering song and call. They really will add colour and life to your outside space.

are a brilliant source of energy for wild birds such as Goldfinches. They are huskless, which means less mess and reduced waste. They're ideally fed in a seed feeder, however, they'll happily eat them the ground or on a table. Whilst it's true that sunflower hearts do cost slightly more than other sunflower seeds, you'll see that they produce much less waste. This is because the outer husk is already removed. They also attract other wild birds, such as robins, starlings, green finches and siskins.


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