Calling all gardens with Goldfinches

01 Nov 2015 | No. 2015-52

If you have Goldfinches in your garden, you’re probably aware that they’re becoming increasingly common. However the reasons behind this are not yet fully understood, so the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is running a Goldfinch Feeding Survey this winter to work out, with your help, exactly what it is about our gardens that they are attracted to.

Goldfinches are an increasingly common sight in our gardens with 70% more BTO Garden BirdWatch participants reporting them now than they did twenty years ago. However we don’t actually know what it is that attracts them to gardens, especially during the winter. Therefore your help is needed this winter to find out what Goldfinches are feeding on, whether it’s the bird food we provide, or the plants that we grow.

Clare Simm, the Goldfinch Feeding Survey organiser said, "It is vital to understand what resources birds are using in our gardens, in order to help them when times are hard. Supplementary feeding in gardens has recently been shown to affect the migratory behaviour of wintering Blackcaps in the UK so it will be fascinating to see if it has also helped the national population of Goldfinches to grow."

Whether you feed the birds or not, if you get Goldfinches please help us by taking part in this survey. All you need to do is count the Goldfinches in your garden for two minutes and record what they are feeding on, if anything.

To find out more about the BTO Goldfinch Feeding Survey or to download the instructions on how to take part, visit If you have any queries, please contact the Garden Ecology team by phone 01842 750050 or email gbw [at] .

Notes for Editors

  1. More about the Goldfinch Feeding Survey can be found here:
  2. The wintering Blackcap research can be found here:
  3. This survey is being run by the BTO Garden BirdWatch team. The BTO Garden BirdWatch is the only nationwide survey of garden birds to run weekly throughout the year, providing important information on how birds use gardens, and how this use changes over time. Currently, some 13,000 people take part in the project. The project is funded by participants’ contributions and is the largest year-round survey of garden birds in the world. For more information see
  4. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation

Contact Details

Clare Simm
(BTO Goldfinch Feeding Survey Organiser)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: clare.simm [at]

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2015-52

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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