Finch Feeding

A Great Addition To Any Backyard is a Finch Feeder

Join the favorite past time of many Canadians by putting a finch feeder in your backyard. Once you have a safe and dependable environment for birds, you will be able to attract a wide variety of birds and sit back, relax and watch them for countless hours.

A safe environment can also be very helpful during harsh weather and generally make life easier for birds–especially during the winter months. Their songs and antics remind us of how diverse, beautiful, and entertaining nature really is.

There are several types of finches and smaller birds that can be attracted using a finch feeder.

Common Finches at Your Backyard Feeder

Some of the most common and popular wild finches are the North American Goldfinch, the Purple Finch, House Finches, Pine Siskins, and Common Redpolls.

Types of Finch Feeders

Finch feeders come in different varieties. Here are some of the most common.
Finch Tube Feeders – Tube feeders typically are generally a plastic tube with plastic, copper or nickel end caps on each end. They come in different lengths to support the number of birds that typically visit your backyard and have different feeding port options. Some feeders support easy-to-clean and easy-to-fill options. Tube feeders with smaller ports are designed to attract and feed smaller birds. The advantages of the tube feeder is that the seed stays fresh and dry and can be chosen to suit any number of birds.

Metal Mesh Feeders – Metal mesh feeders are usually a tube-shaped feeder consisting of a fine metal mesh. The metal mesh allows more finches to cling to the feeder without being limited to the number of feeding ports. Metal mesh feeders are also a bit more squirrel-resistant.

Upside Down Finch Feeders – Upside down finch feeders are usually a tube feeder that has the feeding port below the perch. This port/perch arrangement attracts finches such as the North American Goldfinch and Pine Siskin that don’t mind eating upside down while dissuading others.

Thistle Sock Finch Feeders – Thistle sock feeders are mesh sacks full of the smaller thistle/Nyjer seed that birds pull through the holes in the material. Thistle sack feeders allow several finches to cling to the in different positions at once. Thistle sack feeders are a cheap alternative to the more expensive tube feeders, some being refillable. The main disadvantage of a thistle sock feeder is that the seed can become wet and moldy, which is harmful for the birds. It is important to make sure the seed is getting used up every few days.

Squirrel Proof Finch Feeders – Squirrels, the dilemma of backyard bird feeding. There are several feeders exist that protect the seeds using all sorts of ingenious ideas. Some feature feeding ports that close when the weight of a squirrel triggers a mechanism attached to the perch. Others simply “whirl” the squirrels off or place a cage around the feeder that only smaller birds can get through.

Finch Feeders

Recommended Foods for Your Finch Feeder

Finches eat a variety of seed and insects, but there are certain types of seed that they prefer. Several wild bird blends and seeds are available for finches.

  • Specialty Finch Blends – These blends can contain a combination of thistle/Nyjer, black oil sunflower seeds, rapeseed (canola), etc. that finches and other similar wild birds enjoy. They can be placed in a finch tube feeder designed to hold Nyjer/thistle since the smaller pieces can be easily retrieved through the smaller ports.
  • Black Oil Sunflower Seeds and Striped Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are preferred by most wild birds (and squirrels). Black oil seeds have a thinner shell than striped sunflower seeds so are easier to crack open. They are higher in fat and best fed in the colder months. Striped sunflower seeds can be effective in dissuading other species such as sparrows and blackbirds from taking the seed since they have a harder time cracking the shell. Hulled or shelled sunflower can also be used in feeders. Keep in mind that hulled sunflower seeds can spoil quickly and grow harmful bacteria. Make sure any hulled sunflower is eaten within a day or two.
  • Nyjer/thistle is a particular seed that is cultivated in Africa and is a favorite of smaller finches like the North American Goldfinch and the Pine Siskin. This seed is best used in feeders designed for it due to its small size. The name “Nyjer” is the technically correct name for the seed, but it is still often referred to as “thistle” or “niger” in wild bird blends. Nyjer is more expensive since it is imported and has to be treated so that it or any other weed seeds cannot germinate and spread through North America. Since it is expensive, Nyjer should be used in feeders with smaller ports (like upside down finch feeders or feeders labeled “Nyjer”) to prevent unnecessary spillage. Another advantage of Nyjer is that squirrels aren’t very fond of it.

Comments are closed.