sa6688's picture

No greenfinches

I have seen no greenfinches in my vicinity since last August, at least(that was when I first thought'not seen any greenfinches for a while). For years, we have had at least 8 visiting ,constantly, but now, none. Nor are there any in the lane.
this is quiet rural area, with only scattered houses, and I did wonder about a stoat that I see quite often, but all the other small birds(goldfinch, chaffinch, blue, great, coal and long tailed tits, dunnock, wren, sparrows(by the dozens) etc etc, are all doing very well.We have even seen the bullfinch much more,so not sure about the stoat as predator theory. Is there something going on with greenfinches that i have not heard about?
Thanks, Sheila



Kluut's picture


Very far from guaranteed to be the problem, but greenfinches are particularly susceptible to several diseases. Their keenness to use bird tables and feeders makes this worse as they act as sources of contamination to spread the diseases. Hence the recent realisation that feeders and tables should be kept clean and disinfected.

No predator, in any normal, reasonably stable, ecosystem, has any effect at all on any prey species. Stoats are also rodent and lagomorph specialists.

Moonraker's picture

No Greenfinches

I too had been concerned about the story about the need to disinfect feeders and have done so, several times since the warning, although I tend not to place as much on the feeder at this time of year as in the winter. I have seen only one greenfinch since February in my garden, although I have spotted a couple at the end of the nearby lane heading away from our village.

I recently heard that there has been a further collapse in the sparrow population, I wonder if that is connected? I have still a reasonable number of house and tree sparrows, wrens, dunnocks, great tits (whose population around this area seems larger this year!) and occasional blue tits - at least those are the smaller species that are regular visitors. Does anyone know if any research work has been done to identify the species tht usually live closely with greenfinches - that's to say, that need similar habitat, environment and food sources?


sa6688's picture

No greenfinches

I have , just this week, seen a single greenfinch coming to the feeder and have seen a familiar flash of green in the lane, so that is a beginning, i hope. We have more sparrows(house and tree) than it is possible to count accurately(more than 25 at once) ,and have done for at least 10 years, a few dunnock, great and blue tits, as usual, fewer coaltits(the most I see at once is2), wrens, goldfinches, longtailed tits , robins, pied wagtail, all in normal numbers, we now have a pair of bullfinches that come in the mornings, (new this year ) and have bigger birds like thrush(1 only) blackbirds(3 pairs) starlings(only 4), woodpigeon, collared doves, and a magpie (often chased away by the smaller birds, so all of those are thriving, really. We also have crows, curlews, herons, jays, sparrowhawk, kestrel,rooks,swallows, pheasant, in the field,(oh, owls of various kinds) all of which I see on a daily basis, so the disappearing greenfinches were very noticeable. I am keeping the fingers crossed, that they might recover.


k15sty's picture


I have noticed where I live since spring/summer last year I have a large numbers of them including young ones being feed by their parents on the tree, I live in a flat near a major road and they use the feeders in the tree. I put out sunflower seeds. I noticed that during the big bird count for the rspb there were 10 on the tree at once, however I noticed when I changed the feeders to clean them, they avoided the one I had cleaned and used ones which were already in use (I rotate the cleaning). Also they will not eat anything else but the sunflower seeds so give this a go it may help.

sirhandle's picture

Quite the opposite for me.

Quite the opposite for me. I've seen more greenfinches than ever this year and certainly more feeding on the niger seeds in our garden (goldfinches still more popular though). I suspect the hard winter has something to play on this but our garden feeder has had the most success than any other year. We've even had woodpeckers on it this year and I've never heard or seen these around in our area.

Just go out there and do it!!!

Goldfinch's picture

Bird abundance

How do you get Goldfinches on your feeder? We just get magpies and woodpigeons, what food do the birds like?

marilynm's picture

Goldfinches in garden

Goldfinches are also attracted by the plants in your garden. Long before they found my feeders, the first goldfinches in my garden came for the lemon balm seeds in winter. I only ever deadhead perennials like that in the spring, so there is plenty for finches to explore.

abi7's picture


We attracted Goldfinches after putting Nyjar seed out, they love it, we have filled a large feeder up twice in less than about 6 weeks.

Goldfinch's picture


We have had two greenfinches in our garden, have you tried sunflower seeds, they like that. There might just be a particular place that lot's are visiting and therefore not coming to you.

Do you really get goldfinches in your garden, what food do they eat?

sirhandle's picture

Yes we get loads of

Yes we get loads of goldfinches and they always go for the niger seed. We've had up to 11 of these at any one time fighting for a place on the feeder. In fact we've had that many this year that we've put up 3 feeders with just niger seed in them. If you look at one of my observations for goldfinches there's a photo of them feeding. The wall at the back is Walton Prison (we are in a very urban area) but we've had great success this year with the feeder.

Just go out there and do it!!!

Goldfinch's picture

Thank you

Thank you I'm going to buy some Niger seeds soon,

Thank you for your reply, I will certainly go out there and do it!

sa6688's picture

query on goldfinches

Yes, they do come, they are fabulous, use Nyjer seed, in a special feeder with small ports, otherwise it all falls out.


Kluut's picture


Nyjer (and a few other versions) is just an American politically sensitive rewrite of niger, which is what the seed has been called, and spelt, since Noah was a lad.
Niger is pronounced as is tiger, not Tigger.

bluedai's picture

Greenfinches etc.

Thanks to Kluut for the niger explanation, beautifully done. I'm on the Wirral and have noticed a dearth of greenfinches this year. When sitting in my back garden this afternoon two of them approached and inspected the compost heap, they have been common in previous years. Goldfinches all over the place. Most birds will feed on sunflower seeds or a seed mixture and I discovered that a resident cock blackbird loves green grapes!


jbcardinal's picture

greenfinches & goldfinches

We noticed the greenfinches seemed to have disappeared about 4 years ago, which lasted until 2009, when 1 pair came to our feeders. This yea\r we have seen up to 5, so perhaps they are recovering. As far as we can tell there has been no similar problem with our numerous house sparrows or any other species that visit our feeders. This morning I found about half a dead sparrow on the front doorstep but I suspect our local sparrowhawk which frequently tries to ambush feeding birds, even once following them into quite dense shrubbery near the feeders. We seldom see goldfinches on the feeders, though often on dandelion seeds & they love (white- & goat-) willow catkins. Maybe there is enough 'natural' food for them nearby?


anthonyallen's picture

No Greenfinches?

We have just got our greenfinches back in the garden from the long winter, and we always get them in spring and summer but not in the autumn or winter. I think that they must be venturing out to different areas or even different countries where thier is a good reliability of food. This happens with Goldfinches to because in winter did you know 80% of thier numbers in this country migrate to find a more reliable food source. Thats why you see less in the winter but there are still some residents that stay.

Tris's picture

No Greenfinches?

I used to get loads of greenfinches in my garden (they were particularly attracted to sunflower hearts) but haven't seen so many recently. What I have noticed is that we have had quite a few sick ones (from the symptoms -sitting on the bird bath or feeder and trying unsuccessfully to eat or drink) I am guessing they have trichomoniasis which is passed onto other birds through infected saliva. The only answer seems to be to stop feeding the birds for a few weeks to stop the disease spreading but, since all my neighbours feed them too, there doesn't seem much point. It's very distressing to see the poor things though.