Attracting Finch to Your Feeder


Garden Clippings October 28, 2017


At the first blanket of snowfall, we’ll scrub down the bird feeders and hang them in the backyard just outside the dining room window. We will fill the feeders with fresh seed and within a few days our feathered friends will delight us with their presence.


The Blue Jays will bully their way to the top of the bird food chain eating furiously and making a mess in doing so. The bright red Cardinals will stop by less frequently.


It is when the Goldfinches visit that we gain the most satisfaction. Goldfinches are happy, active birds, they are not aggressive. They will dance from perch to perch, and they will always say thank you after each bite of seed they eat. Goldfinches’ cute size and bright yellow colour makes them our most welcomed visitor.


The Goldfinch in our feeding centre have their own designated feeders. One is a tube style feeder that holds nyjer seed. Tiny holes on the sides of the feeder allow access to the seed by Finch only. The other is a platform feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds, where all kinds of birds create a feeding frenzy.


Attracting birds to our garden was not an instant success. When we first moved into our rural home about 20 years ago, birds were scarce because our home was surrounded by barren fields. We put out bird feeders to no avail. It was only after 6 or 7 years when the landscaped garden began to mature that a few common birds began to feel comfortable visiting our yard.


A few years later Goldfinch became regular visitors. Today our corner of the world is still bordered with crop land on all sides, but the trees, perennials and shrubs are now dense enough for Finch to claim the habitat as their home. Ditto for hummingbirds and butterflies.


Finches’ favourite hangout for shelter is low growing shrubs and small trees. While most birds want to live in tall trees and dense conifers, Finch would rather live in understory plants such as Lilac, Redbud, Dogwood and Viburnum. Finch will look for tripod branch junctions to build their small cup shaped nests.


Finches’ primary source of food is seed, and they will find it at your feeder as well as in your garden. Finch love foraging through the spent flowers of Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Sunflowers and Thistle. They will also feed off the plumes of ornamental grasses. Those of us who have a habit of cleaning up the flower garden before winter, may want to postpone that job till Spring, in order to entice birds to hang around.


Those who put out a new Finch feeder are likely to be sadly disappointed for the first few weeks or months because Finch need to become accustomed to your yard before stopping by. Put your feeder out early in fall rather than waiting till Christmas. It may be necessary to replenish the seed if it becomes stale or damp.