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MARCH 2023

Let’s Talk About Finches



As many people do, I keep birdfeeders around my yards to feed the birds throughout the year. Fortunately, I live near a creek, with an abundance of trees which provide some attractive nesting areas for our local birds. Common wild birds in my area include the lovely red cardinals, blue jays, red breasted robins, mourning doves, mockingbirds, bright green monk parakeets, noisy woodpeckers, and finches.

Finches, and specifically the American Goldfinch are among my favorites. They stop by as they migrate north or south, depending on the season, and I try my best every year to attract as many as possible. American Goldfinch males are bright yellow with a little black “cap.” The females are a less-bright yellow, but still lovely.

Other finches that pass through my area are also colorful, most being in varying shades of red. They look like female cardinals, though much smaller.

No matter which finch I’m trying to attract, my method is the same and super-simple. I have a couple of thistle-feeders, I fill them with thistle seed and wait. That’s it.

There are a few extra steps I take to make my yard more attractive to the little fellows:

—When I first put out the thistle feeders, I either remove or stop using all other bird feeders for a week or two.

I use smaller feeders. Even though I must add seed more often, the seed stays fresher. Thistle seed can get moldy in damp weather.

—I place the feeder close to a tree, fence, or other structure. Finches like a bit of privacy.

—When buying a new feeder, I look for a colorful one. Finches can be attracted to colors, like a vibrant red or a bright yellow.

—After I’ve left only thistle feeders out for a week or two, I’ll add a black oil sunflower seed to other bird feeder in the yard. While black oil sunflower seeds are good for attracting cardinals, finches like them too.

—I keep the feeders full. In my experience, finches will sort of disappear once the feeder is half-full. I guess a full feeder is more desirable to the little birds.

All the above is rather inexpensive. A nice thistle feeder usually costs less than $20. You could also use sock feeders, which are even cheaper. Prefilled sock feeders are also available. Thistle seed itself runs around $15 for 5 pounds…as of this writing of course. If you have a “Feed and Seed” store nearby, you could probably pay even less. And of course, watch the sales. Spring is good time for sales for many items you would use to attract birds to your yard.

Whether you want to attract finches to your yard—or for those without yards—it’s always a nice habit to feed your local birds. There are bird feeders for almost every living situation. You can find feeders for your patio or balcony, or windowsill, or even bird feeders with suction cups to adhere to the outside of your windows.

Bird watching is a relaxing, peaceful hobby. You’ll probably attract some squirrels as well, but they’re all entertaining to watch. For a small investment, you’ll bring so much life to your surroundings. Enjoy!

For more great content like this, look for the print edition of the Bingo Bugle in your area: Local Bingo Bugle Publications.

Elle & Company

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