Goldfinch Feeding Survey preliminary results

Goldfinch Feeding Survey participants map

Distribution of the households that took part in the survey summarised by 10km squares.

Between November 2015 and February 2016 an amazing 5,183 households across Britain and Ireland took part in our Goldfinch Feeding Survey to help us determine what it is about our gardens Goldfinches are attracted to. With households seeing an average of eight Goldfinches at a time, the survey highlighted the fact that the population of this colourful bird has been increasing in gardens and is now reported by 70% more Garden BirdWatch participants than twenty years ago.

The preliminary results reveal that Goldfinches appear to prefer feeding on the supplementary food that we provide to the natural foods available in gardens. Sunflower hearts were overwhelmingly the preferred option, with nyger seed coming second. Where natural foods were taken, teasel and thistle were often the favourites. 

As the number of Goldfinches visiting gardens continues to grow, these findings will inform further BTO research into whether their use of bird foods is driving the increase in their national population. The new information gathered in this survey will be extremely important in helping us discover the answer, when combined with long-term data from the BTO’s weekly Garden BirdWatch project. Thank you to everyone who took part.

Goldfinch feeding preferences in gardens - graph