12 Tips to Attract Finches to Your Backyard (2020)

North America houses a huge variety of finches, with their admirable beauty and vibrant profiles. In addition to being flock animals, finches also require a spacious living space. That means that you must never house finches in vertical cages. Since parrots can potentially harm your yellow-feathered friends, you must never place finches with parrots, if you want them to thrive. 

1. Add Bright Colored Ribbons to Your Backyard

Birds possess extreme sensitivity for colors, which means they are drawn to colors which nature does not commonly have. Thus adding bright-colored, such as yellow ribbons to the feeder helps immensely in attracting finches. 

Ribbons are light and move with the winds. This movement assures the birds that their new feeder is a safe zone as another bird has already explored it and finds it secure. Most birds, including orioles, find ribbons attractive, so you must strategically place them around poles, trees, and feeders that are in plain sight. With this little trick, you will be able to attract many finches. 

2. Tempt with Fresh Black Seed

Brown, stale looking seeds do not attract finches, so one must always buy strong black colored seeds. The general preference of your yellow beauties is a combination of sunflower and Nyjer seeds, which are high in oil and easy to pick with small beaks. 

If you are looking to attract finch friends all year round, we suggest offering a daily meal of the seeds duo we just mentioned. Since November to March is the least seed productive season for many food plants, it is more essential to stock up on this seed combination for your birds. Finches are small and clingy, so you choose hulled sunflower chips and kernels, millet, and Nyjer. The best feeders are sock or mesh-style for the tiny creatures. 

3. Encourage Nesting in Your Yard

Goldfinches prefer taller trees, shaded locations, and low, dense shrubs to nest in. They usually nest later than other species, when thistles, their favorites, begin to ripen. The females use thistledown to line their nests and mate from June to August. Goldfinches prefer to nest in cup shapes, vertical structures, especially those with strong support. To this end, the elderberry, dogwood, hawthorn, and buttonbush plants and willow, fruit, and Monterey pine trees work best. 

If you wish to raise goldfinch chicks, provide a secure and safe place for them. You may consider downy plants such as thistle and dandelions and provide natural cotton supplements for a more natural feeling nest. Also, leave the nesting material available and protected till summer.

4. Add Finch Specific Feeders

The best ones are Feeder tubes, socks, and finch stations. All these are designed to feed finches conveniently, but the easiest are socks because the little birds can easily access the seeds inside. Many birders usually use special thistle seed socks because the birds easily hang from them and extract the seeds from between the fibers.

If you find it inconvenient to special stock food, a small tube feeder might be a good option for your standard one. We urge you to choose tube feeders because it makes it impossible for the bigger species like Red-winged blackbirds, Blue Jays, and other aggressive and bigger species to latch on and feed.

5. The Location of the Feeder is Key

Feeders left out in the open cause finches to feel vulnerable to predators. Placing your feeders near trees and shrubs encourages safety. Position your feeders 10 to 12 feet away from shelters so that birds can quickly escape when a predator approaches. 

Birds prefer feeders that are hung higher than the head height. For finches, you don’t need to hang the feeders under the branches specifically. If you have trees close by, you already have higher chances of attracting the yellow finches. If you have open fields and rivers nearby, place the feeders in areas where finches commonly dwell. Generally, finches never go deep into the forest so you can space the feeders apart from the trees safely.

6. Add Weeds to the Feeders

Feeders don’t always strike as sources of food to the finches. Also, birds flying overhead may possibly fail to spot the feeder as an active feeding area. To draw their attention to your feeders, try adding natural weeds or using thistles and dandelions to stick into the feeder holes.

Often times, when birders install new feeders into their gardens or backyards, birds may fail to recognize it as a source of food and might even vary in most cases if they have been used to feeding on an old one in your place before. Dandelions and thistle sticks will assure them of the feeding source and draw them towards exploring and discovering the food inside.

7. Install a Bird Bath (Essential for Finches)

The most integral environmental factor for birds is water. Finches stick throughout the year, so it is imperative to have a water source that does not freeze. Since finches are always on the move, it is imperative to offer a moving water source, such as a bird bath commonly.

There are also some who migrate, which is why you must provide a water source for their journey as well or as a welcome source after they have landed from a tedious journey at their destination. Goldfinches love to shower, so add a birdbath with a mister or dripper. A fountain or a standing bath also improves the chances of drawing in yellow finches.

8. Offer Only Fresh Seed

Birds only prefer fresh seeds, which is a vital factor. When adding new seeds, you will have to remove the stale ones first. Check the birdseed regularly for any spoilage. To appease the fresh and dry seeds needs of goldfinches, use baffles to keep them dry. Also, purchase feeders that allow air circulation and percent of seeds from molding. 

Finches tend to empty only half of the feeder so empty the feeders of the old seeds and keep filling in fresh ones regularly. Some feeders have an opening from the bottom from where you can fill in fresh seed regularly. This way, the birds consume the freshest seeds first.

9. Add a Perching Stick

Goldfinches travel in groups and love to wait for each other to feed first. For this, add a perch or a stick to provide a comfortable waiting space. Adding a perching stick, especially rough branches, are good for birds’ feet. It gives them something rough to grip on. Before you add the branch, make it a practice to clean it first thoroughly. 

Whenever you introduce something new for the birds, you must ensure that it is thoroughly clean and disinfected. You can clean the brush with a vegetable brush and clean water simply. To disinfect the branch and to kill any microbes, pour hot water over the stick just to remain on the safe side.

10. Lure Them with the Right Plants

Natural plants, sunflowers, thistle seeds attract the yellow and goldfinches immensely. Place these around your yard to encourage more of the yellow birds to befriend you. Goldfinches particularly enjoy thistle plant seeds. Among the other sources of attraction are cosmos, daisies, cottonwood fluff, milkweed, cattails, poppies, marigold, and zinnias. Sunflowers are a treat for most small birds, including the finches. 

Thistles seeds are also a great favorite of the American Goldfinch. With these plant lines around your yard or on the perimeter, you will encourage large numbers of finches to befriend you. A bird feeder additionally will go even a step beyond to transform your property into a popular birds’ hangout club. Yellow finches particularly enjoy black-eyed Susan, purple coneflowers and asters too. 

11. Temporarily Move Other Feeders

By placing a new feeder in your backyard or garden, you must realize that you are breaking an old habit. This change itself takes a long time for the birds to adapt to. Birds, like humans, are creatures of habit and require days and even weeks to adjust to a new feeder. 

When you place something, they are unfamiliar with in your yard. There will be certain wariness in the birds. To warm them up to it, you will have to remove the old feeders to encourage your little friend to forage into the new routine and eat from the new feeder.

12. Keep Your Feeders Clean Inside and Outside

You must regularly remove spilled seeds and hulls from underneath the feeders to minimize the risks of diseases for finches, which forage around other birds like doves and sparrows or on the ground. Dirty and unkempt feeders are also a complete no for finches that cringe away from filth and dirt.

When it rains, seeds tend to get clumpy and impossible for the birds to extract. To avoid this, add weather guards to your feeders and keep them clean. Make sure that food is always fresh and clean inside the feeder and not moldy. Also, periodically shake the feeder so that you keep the food dry and loose inside. Do not allow uneaten food to remain inside beyond three weeks.

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