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Watch (and Listen!) for Goldfinch Juveniles at Feeders

Even though it’s Mid-September, NOW is the time to watch and listen for juvenile Goldfinches!

  1. Juvenile Goldfinches look like duller females, with tan on black wing bars
  2. Babies and juveniles have a distinctive Squeak! In fact, they are really squeaky!!!
  3. They are in a feeding frenzy at our backyard feeders right now.

The Goldfinch Diet

Insects? Yuck!
Goldfinches are strict vegetarians. The only way a Goldfinch will eat an insect is if one flies into its mouth!
Serve Nyjer and Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.
Hint: They prefer them fresh and naturally oily, not dried out.

Juvenile Goldfinch Feeding Frenzy

Is it unusual to be seeing these really young Goldfinches at our feeders at this point? Isn’t nesting season over? Some of our other favorite backyard birds are getting ready for Fall migration!

This is the normal (and best!) time to see Goldfinch juveniles. American Goldfinches do wait to nest later than other birds. They only have one brood and the timing is all about nest building material & FOOD!

Goldfinch parents are waiting for thistle, milkweed and other native plants to grow the fibers they need to build their nest and the seeds they need for nourishing themselves AND their babies.

How to Support Goldfinches in Your Backyard

Goldfinches! Another of many good reasons to plant native thistle and milkweed! Restoring habitat with native plants (like thistle for Goldfinches and milkweed for Monarch Butterflies), is simple and doesn’t require a lot of work for you! As plants go to seed in the Fall, you can just let them be. Goldfinches will ‘deadhead’ them for you. See Planting Flowers for Bees, Birds & Butterflies.

Goldfinch feeder gymnastics are so much fun to watch! They’ll eat while upside-down, right-side up or any position in between, just stock your feeders with fresh, high quality sunflower seeds and nyjer! They are feeding vigorously right now. Try to monitor and keep debris beneath your feeders to a minimum.

Water! Fresh water for drinking and bathing. Always!!! Wild birds need water all year round.

To find out how you can make your backyard a haven for wild birds, see The Backyard Naturalist’s guide ‘Habitat = Food + Water + Shelter‘.