Going for gold
Amateur Gardening|December 11, 2021
Val looks at why goldfinch numbers are on the up
Val Bourne

IT’S not all doom and gloom when it comes to wildlife, as the recent rise of the goldfinch indicates. Since the 1990s, this lovely little bird has gone from strength to strength, probably because lots of gardeners like you are filling up their birdfeeders with sunflower hearts and niger seeds. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’re in the city, town or countryside, either, because the numbers have gone up consistently in all four countries of the UK.

Winters are often milder these days and this is encouraging goldfinches to nest earlier, so they may have more chance of raising two successful broods per year. Females lay four to five eggs, on average, and their nests are high off the ground, sometimes up to 50ft (15m) above ground. They make a neat cup of moss, grass and rootlets, and they begin breeding between late April and the end of August. They incubate the eggs for 12-13 days and the fledglings spend 14-15 days in the nest. They are fed on a mixture of seeds and invertebrates, and early broods get more invertebrates than seeds.

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