how do finches find bird feeders

You can’t help but notice these active and acrobatic little birds with a short, conical bill and a small, head, long wings, and short, notched tail, especially this time of year.

Adult male Finches in spring and early summer are bright yellow with black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches both above and beneath the tail. The adult female Finches are duller yellow beneath, olive above.

Finches fly with a bouncy, undulating pattern and often call in flight, drawing attention to them with their po-ta-to-chip flight call. They’re most abundant in areas with thistle plants, and near feeders clinging to weeds and seed socks, and sometimes milling about in large numbers at feeders or on the ground beneath them.

These birds are attracted to yards with native thistles and other composite plants, as well as native milkweed and are known to nest later in the season – July through September.

Almost any kind of bird feeder will attract Finches (hopper, platform, and hanging feeders) and these birds don’t even mind feeders that sway in the wind. They are also happy to feed on the ground below feeders, eating spilled seeds. To help protect Finches from contagious diseases at feeders, be sure to keep the ground below them well-raked.

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Visit our store and meet our friendly, knowledgeable staff. We are passionate about birding and would be happy to answer any questions. Give us a call or stop by our store to tell us when you’ve spotted those migrating birds in your backyard. We enjoy hearing from you!

I spoke with a colleague who works for the Department of Natural Resources recently. He is a knowledgeable wildlife biologist, and his knowledge of native swans is astounding. However, what he knew or didn’t know about bird feeding was unexpected. We were discussing how expensive seed is and how he bought some food for the finches but they didn’t show up. When I questioned where he got the food, he told me it was from a reputable “big box” store.

I told him that the chances were good that the seed was most likely old and finches will not eat it. Nyjer (also known as Niger and Thistle) is not grown in the US, though it is possible. Most of it comes from Singapore, Ethiopia and Burma. Once the seed is six months old after being picked, the finches are less likely to eat it. Most wild bird types stores like your Wild Birds Unlimited or Wild Birds Centers will work with their seed distributor to get the freshest crop, once that crop reaches a certain age, the distributor will sell it at a discount to places like hardware stores who would prefer to offer cheaper older seed than fresh seed. That’s one of the reasons wild bird store seed tends to be more expensive (they are purchasing smaller quantities and purchasing the freshest seed possible).

Simple seasonal movement is another factor that could be preventing you from having finches. I’ve been doing three different fall bird surveys. And there have been a ton of birds these past few weeks. Either I will be flying over thousands of Canvasbacks, or I will be standing in a cornfield with flocks of Eastern Bluebirds and American Pipits whirling around me, or I will be surrounded by hoards of native sparrows. Then, during my survey this week, I didn’t see a single bird. I was fortunate to hear a lone Horned Lark or a distant American Crow for the majority of my point counts. I felt so lonely out in the field. However, birds are booking south, so you may have a lot of availability on some days and very little on others. If your food is fresh and your feeder isn’t as dirty as the one above that has all the goldfinches in it, Recall that while birds don’t enjoy eating from soiled dishes any more than humans do, they will when their options are limited. Dirty feeders can spread disease.

Finches travel around in large nomadic flocks. If you have oodles of finches at your feeder all day long that is most likely several flocks of birds that have your feeding station on their RADAR and include it in their daily route. So take heart if you are low on birds hope that this year’s Winter Finch Forecast is in your favor you’ll get tons of Pine Siskins. There are also lots of YouTube finch videos so you can always get your finch fix there too.

You know, you can always use sunflower seeds if that’s too much for you to consider. The separate feeder is nice because it gives the finches their own place to feed without being intimidated or bullied by larger birds; even those tiny goldfinches will eat it along with other birds (note the American Goldfinch in photobombing the male and female Northern Cardinals).

The late Roger Ford established Backyard Birds, an independent, family-run wildlife specialty shop, in 1996. We provide everything you require, from designing a welcoming habitat for wildlife to locating unusual presents for lovers of the outdoors.

Native milkweed, native thistles, and other composite plants draw these birds to yards. They are known to nest later in the season, from July to September.

Finches have a lively, undulating flight pattern. They also frequently make calls while in the air, calling attention to themselves with their po-ta-to-chip call. They can occasionally be seen milling about in large numbers at feeders or on the ground beneath them. They are most common in areas with thistle plants and close to feeders, where they cling to weeds and seed socks.

Finches are drawn to nearly every type of bird feeder, including hanging, hopper, and platform feeders. These birds are also indifferent to feeders that sway with the wind. They also take pleasure in nibbling on seeds that have spilled on the ground beneath feeders. Make sure to keep the area beneath feeders well-raked to help shield finches from infectious diseases.

In spring and early summer, adult male finches have bright yellow feathers with a black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches above and below the tail. The adult female Finches are duller yellow beneath, olive above.


How long does it take for finches to find a feeder?

It can take more than 2 weeks for birds to find a new food source. In summer when natural food is abundant they have less incentive to seek out new sources. Maybe it will just take time for them to find you. Also, the more “bird friendly” the feeder area is, the faster it will attract birds.

How do birds find your bird feeder?

Birds almost exclusively find food by sight. With almost no sense of smell, birds rely on their keen senses of sight and sound to locate food sources. So, if a bird catches sight of a feeder containing a familiar food source, they will likely stop for a bite to eat.

What is the best feeder to attract finches?

Sock Finch Feeder Typically the finches love them. Birds just cling right to them to feed. Since they are just made of fabric, these feeders do wear out quickly. They can be washed but be sure to replace them when they begin to look especially dirty or torn.