Attracting goldfinches and other small-beaked birds to you window is one of the best ways to interact with nature. Here are some guidelines for success.
It's easy once you've attracted the first bird...
Unless you are already feeding birds in your backyard, the hardest part will be getting the local and migratory birds to spot the feeder. Once it's recognized you'll get plenty of action and many return visitors year after year.
Location, location, location...
Start by hanging the feeder in a spot where it will be visible to birds in the area, but near a window so you can monitor the action. An ideal location is the branch of a small tree or large bush about 10 feet from a kitchen window.
Now make it easier for you to see...
Once the birds find the feeder, you can move it closer to the window, until eventually it is hanging directly on, or in front of the window.
Sit back and watch the action
Once they have found the feeder, keep it well stocked with fresh thistle seed.
Keep your birds happy
Birds can smell old seed and will avoid it. Every month or so dump out all of the seed, clean the feeder, and add fresh seed.
What time of year should I use my feeder?
It depends on where you live. Most areas of the country have some year-round finches (such as red house finches) so it is possible to have birds at the feeder anytime. However, the most active thistle seed eaters are goldfinches which only reside for part of the year in each area of the country while they are making their migratory journey. In the southern US goldfinches are usually present in the fall and spring - if you live in those areas put your thistle feeder out then. Goldfinches spend their summers in the northern US and Canada - if you live in those areas put you feeder out then. In fall and winter goldfinches wear drab plumage and may not be easily recognized. In Spring and Summer they are dressed in their bright yellow plumage and are easier to spot even from a distance.