Looking to spy more colorful plumage in your backyard? Whether you’re a seasoned bird watcher or have just joined the bird-lov’in crowd, we have some great suggestions on how to attract Finches to your property.
Table of Contents
- Things to know about Finches
- What should I feed outdoor Finches?
- What feeders should I use for Finches?
- What can I do to attract Finches to my yard?
Things to know about Finches
Finches are typically small and stout, with plumage – or feathers – that come in a vast assortment of delightful colors and patterns. Some finches have a solid or single coloration, while others have patches, mottling or speckles of different colors. Their shades range from blue, gray, red, brown, yellow, white, and black or a variety of any combination of these tones.
The plumage of female and male Finches is quite similar. However, the feathers of females are slightly paler and less vibrant. The plumage of juvenile Finches is very similar to adult females, with slightly less intensity of colors. With thick, short bills, their size ranges from approximately 4-10 inches long. Though most Finch species weigh only about an ounce, some have been known to weigh as much as 3 ounces.
Though Finches live throughout the world, there is a vast concentration of them in North America. Although they are flock birds, Finches need a lot of space to live. As such, wild Finches should never be kept in vertical cages as house pets.
What should I feed outdoor Finches?
Attract Finches to your yard with natural weeds, fresh seeds, and tempt with their favorite treats – black seeds.
Fresh bird seed
Without a doubt, you must supply fresh bird seed to attract Finches. Before filling up your feeder, pick through the seed mix and remove old, stale bits since these tiny birds are quite particular. Feel free to mix fresh and dry mixes together.
Black seed (a real treat!)
High in oil and easy to eat (by small beaks), Finches absolutely adore:
Not only are the shells thin and easy to open, these seeds offer oils that give these tiny birds the energy they need to survive. Aside from their taste, Finches are also attracted to their black color. Avoid giving them dried-out black seeds, which often take on a brown color. A good tip to prevent old seeds is to either store them in the freezer until you use them, or simply purchase them in small batches that will be consumed faster.
Add weeds to seeds
If it’s the first-time attracting Finches to your yard, they may be wary of your feeder. Add outdoor weeds to draw their attention, such as dandelions and thistles, to make it look more natural. Simply allow these weeds to stick out the sides of your feeder, which will draw the small birds to check out the new source of food.
What feeders should I use for Finches?
It’s essential to choose the right feeder to attract Finches to your home. With so many different kinds on the market, you may not know which one to select. Luckily, the following information will help narrow down the options, as well as offer additional advice on placement and other tips.
Best feeders for Finches
First and foremost, you’re looking for a model that allows air to circulate, thus preventing molding from occurring. The most ideal models for this species are:
These allow easy access for the tiny birds and gives them a secure place to hang. Plus, since these models are smaller, they’re inconvenient for bigger birds and detracts them from pestering little Finches.
Location is key
Finches feel vulnerable to predators in open spaces. Therefore, place your feeder in a more remote area, such as near shrubs or trees, to give a sense of security. Doing so will encourage them to investigate your new installation. Once Finches feel more comfortable using the feeder, move it away from sheltered areas so squirrels or other animals can’t jump onto it.
Typically, all birds prefer feeders that are slightly elevated – about 6 feet high at least – so they don’t have to worry about predators while they feed. Though, there’s no need to hide it under the branches of a tree. As long as the feeder is hanging relatively near trees, Finches will feel comfortable enough to visit. However, since they don’t normally venture into deep woods, keep the feeder near the edge of dense trees but not too far in.
Move other feeders temporarily
As a bird enthusiast, you may already have feeders out to attract other types of birds. If so, consider moving those feeders temporarily before adding your new Finch feeder. As creatures of habit that stay away from larger birds, Finches may not want to venture into your yard if they often see bigger birds there. So, you may want to think about only having the Finch feeder until your little visitors get used to your house. You can always place the other feeders in the front of your home, reserving your backyard for Finches until everything is settled.
What can I do to attract Finches to my yard?
Aside from making sure you have the right kind of food and feeder, there are several other things you can do to make your yard more attractive for Finches.
Add brightly colored plants & ribbons
Birds are highly sensitive to color and are often attracted to glittery, bright objects. Adding brilliant, attractive ribbons that flutter gently in the breeze can help attract Finches, as the waving movement mimics other birds. As well, the repetitive, flapping motion helps them feel the area is safe since the movement is rhythmic and predictable. The addition of colorful, flowering plants is also another great way to draw their attention to your yard as they fly overhead.
Encourage nesting with seed-bearing plants
Attract Finches with seed-bearing plants and blooming flowers. Since they’re granivores – meaning, seed eaters – they often search for fresh seeds to eat from flower heads like:
- Black-Eyed Susans
- Purple coneflowers
These small birds prefer to nest in low, dense shrubs, shaded areas, and taller trees. Normally, Finches nest later than most other birds, around the time the thistles begin to ripen, using this much favored plant as a source of both food and liner for nests.
Females mate from June to August. They search out vertical structures and cup shapes to build their nests, looking for strong support in flora like:
- Monterey pine tree
- Willow tree
- Many fruit species
- Elderberry plant
- Dogwood plant
- Hawthorn plant
- Buttonbush plant
Lure them with attractive nature
Aside from feeding and nesting plants and trees, Finches are known to enjoy hanging around the following attractive flowers and plants:
- Cottonwood fluff
- Sunflowers (always a fresh, yummy treat)
- Thistles (a true Finch favorite)
Place these around your yard to further encourage these tiny birds to come visit.
Install a bird bath
Water is an integral part of a Finch-friendly backyard. While most stay throughout the year, some types of Finches do migrate. Regardless, having a source of water in your yard that doesn’t freeze is sure to attract these tiny birds. Therefore, consider the addition of a standing bath or fountain that’s heated in the colder months.
Add a resting spot
Often, Finches will wait for their companions to feed together. Because of this, you may want to add a few little comfortable resting spots throughout your yard. There are a few things you can use:
Though not completely necessary as you likely have branches they can use, these extras are still nice to have in the yard since they give you a clear way of viewing your visitors.
Hopefully, you’ve found our suggestions on how to attract Finches to your yard helpful, perhaps even sparking a few ideas on what to do to your property to make it more appealing to these little visitors. If you’ve had some success on attracting them or would like to offer some other useful tips, let us know by commenting below!