My Experience With Goldfinches Before 2015
Nearly every year since 2003, the first year I started feeding birds, I’ve had goldfinches in my back yard. Sure, there have been some years where they were heavier than others. I made a recording in May of 2011 where they were massing in the woods behind our property and the din was almost deafening. Have a listen.
(The recording was made on my iPhone from at almost 100 feet away so you may have to turn it up a bit. Sorry.)
Other than that year, the pattern was the same: they would become regular visitors during the winter, taper off a bit in the summer, disappear when plants got to seeding stages in late August and come back again for the fall/winter rush. This year that has not been the case at all.
My Goldfinches In 2015
This year, I bought some poorly stored thistle at Walmart. So, I started out with very inconsistent results. I kept finding them on my sunflower seed feeders and not so much on their thistle feeders. I knew the feeders were clean and the seed was recently purchased so I just wrote it up to an anomaly of sorts.
Finally, I decided to see if there could be a problem with the seed. I asked my local Wild Birds Unlimited buddy what she’d been hearing. She said nothing struck her about the goldfinch reports she’d been getting from customers. She gave me a small bag of thistle to try in my feeder. I could see her seed was shinier than mine which I knew meant oilier too. Do I have to tell you what happened?
Of course, within two days of putting out the new seed the feeders were covered up with goldfinches. I said my apologies to them for holding out on them and got ready to buy a new bag of thistle. Anybody that feeds birds will tell you how hard it is to throw away seed but I knew what I had to do. I threw some of it on my patio for the mourning doves but they didn’t go crazy about it. I knew it would take me way too long to get rid of it that way. So, I dumped it and moved on.
Still Not Here To Stay
After I replaced the old seed with the new the traffic picked up significantly for a while. Maybe a month or so. Then, I started noticing a tapering off when they should be settling in for the summer. I checked and cleaned my feeders one more time just to be sure. No effect on the traffic. So, pretty much from June or July of this year I’ve seen very spotty traffic back there and I can’t explain it. So, I’ve come to ask for your help.
What Has YOUR Goldfinch Traffic Been Like?
Please leave me a comment below and tell me where you live and what your goldfinch experience has been like this year. I’d love to hear your feedback! I’m baffled. The only change that’s happened this year is we had a tree just behind our property get split and had to be severely pruned. I should mention this tree is not directly near the goldfinch thistle feeders. I did consider just the change in the backyard cover may have spooked them. The only problem with that idea is I think they started tapering off long before the tree was even damaged in the storm this summer. Anything you can share will be appreciated. Also, if you could like this post on Facebook or share it on twitter maybe we could get even more input.