Goldfinch Feeding Survey

Goldfinches by Paul Newton.

The Goldfinch Feeding Survey is now over - thank you to everyone who took part. 

"Like you, we love watching Goldfinches. You tell us that these charming birds are an increasingly familiar sight in your gardens, and we wanted to find out exactly what it is about our gardens that Goldfinches need.”

Why do we need a survey?

With 70% more Garden BirdWatch participants reporting Goldfinches now than 20 years ago, it’s apparent that they are far more common in our gardens than they used to be, but we don't fully understand the reasons for this. How important is the food we put out or which plants we grow? Do they truly prefer nyger seed or is sunflower seed their choice treat? We needed your help to find out the answers!

Using your counts we are investigating the factors behind the increase of Goldfinches and uncover their feeding habits. Understanding how birds use the resources in our gardens means that we can provide for them when times are hard.

What did we ask?

We wanted you to spend two minutes watching the Goldfinches in your garden, and tell us how many you saw and what they were feeding on. We were also interested in how their feeding behaviour changed throughout the winter so if you regularly saw Goldfinches you could help us by reporting more than once.   

Find out exactly what we asked people to record with our instructions.

Please have a look at our FAQ page if you have any questions


The Goldfinch Feeding Survey ran between November 2015 and February 2016 inclusive. 

This survey will support new research being undertaken by BTO Research Ecologist Kate Plummer, to investigate whether the increasing use of garden bird foods by Goldfinches is helping their national population to grow. Kate and other BTO scientists recently showed that supplementary feeding has affected the migratory behaviour of wintering Blackcaps in the UK.

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