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How to Attract Finches (And Allow ‘Em To Keep Coming!)

How to Attract Finches

Did you know that having a finch has become a popular pet choice? These birds are non-talkative like the parrot and are easy to take care of. Having finches as your feathered friend will give you hours of delight since they can perform aerial acrobatics and are socially interactive with one another.

How To Attract Finches

To attract finches to your garden, provide a variety of bird feeders filled with nyjer (thistle) seeds or sunflower seeds. Planting native flowering plants and providing fresh water sources like birdbaths can also entice them. Creating a peaceful and safe environment with shrubs or trees for nesting will increase the chances of attracting these colorful songbirds.

Finches are small multicolored birds. They are easy to please and would be content in a large flight cage or aviary and be sociable with their fellow finches. But nothing beats watching these little songbirds in their natural habitat. Spending time with nature can be good for the soul, and having a yard with finches taking turns feeding and using the birdbath can entertain you for hours. 

Making your yard an active place to hang out needs preparation and patience but the outcome will be rewarding. It puts nature closer while  you help sustain the birds’ population in your own way. Paying attention to details and researching on some finch preferences can help you prepare the yard for offerings they cannot refuse. 

The word “finch” is a loose term used to describe one of the hundreds of small passerine birds. They are small conical-billed songbirds who feed on seeds. Their compact build may range from 10 to 27 cm (3 to 10 inches). Their heavy conical bills are used to crack seeds of grasses and weeds. 

A finch can include insects as well as seed in their diet. Goldfinches can also use them to feed their nestlings who are still too young to crack a seed. They come in various shades of red and yellow.

Other wild birds of their kind may be demurely clad with protective colors since they like to nest in grass or low bushes. Still, a finch can sport colors such as attractive spots and streaks. Finches are highly sociable birds and may at times nest in scattered pairs but can often be seen in large flocks. 

Female finches mostly do the job of building nests made of twigs. Their nests may contain four to five eggs that will be incubated by the female finches alone. The male finch looks after their young once eggs are hatched by assisting in raising the brood. 

Finches are noted to be excellent singers who show their musical abilities by performing beautiful repertoires that can range from complex notes like a sparrow song to the monotonous unmusical notes of a grasshopper.

How to Attract Finches to Your Yard

How to Attract Finches to Your Yard

Create an Ideal Finch Habitat

Do you want to know how to attract finches? Attracting finches to your yard is possible by enticing them with a welcoming environment suited to their preferences. They like eating even a thistle that has seeds. After eating, they can even use the thistle for building a nest. 

A finch can also be attracted to cattails, milkweed, and cottonwood fluff since these plants provide materials to build their nesting place. Having trees with plenty of vertical branches can be a good nesting place for finches. They prefer to build a nesting area high above the ground and tree spots where there are 2 to 3 fork branches to secure their nest. 

Growing colorful flowers will not only add life to your garden, they can also attract finches and other types of wild birds. Sunflowers, purple coneflowers, asters, and Black-eyed Susans have seeds that they can feed on. 

Get these finches to your yard by having cosmos, daisies, poppies, marigolds, and zinnias. When these flowers are past their blooming stage, don’t deadhead them yet as finches can source their seeds for food after they fade away. 

Freshwater Sources

Did you know that a garden with a water source will become finches’ ideal pit stop during migration?

Your garden can also become their bathing area after landing from a tedious journey. Since finches refresh themselves by drinking and bathing, providing it with a birdbath with mister or dripper can attract finches to visit or stay in your backyard. You can also use a fountain or standing bath if you like to add more chances of songbirds to keep on favoring your backyard.

Use Finch Bird Feeders for Feeding

How many bird feeders are there? There are many types of bird feeders available in the market. Choose the ones specifically designed to feed finches. Some of these feeders are in the form of thistle seed socks, tubes, and finch stations. Special thistle feed socks can be one of the easiest types of bird feeder where finches can hang from the feeder and easily extract seeds from between fibers. 

A tube feeder can also be a good choice as this feeder type will not allow bigger birds to latch on and feed. The feeder should be placed 10 to 12 feet away from shelters to allow escape if predators like cats, crows, hawks, squirrels, snakes, and skunks to name a few, will attack them. 

Placing finch feeders near trees and shrubs can also be a good feeder position. Newly installed finch feeders in your garden and  in new locations where finches don’t usually eat can be hard to identify as food sources.

To attract finches to this new bird feeder, add natural materials like weeds, and sticks of thistle and dandelions in the feeder hole. This can attract finches to the location and eat from the wild bird feeder. 

Perching sticks  

American goldfinch and other Finches take turns when eating and sometimes the waiting can take time. Placing a perching stick will act as a waiting area for these diminutive birds. Use rough branches which are easier to grip on little birds’ feet. 

Make sure it is clean and well disinfected before placing it near the feeder. Wash it with water and use a clean brush. On the safe side, you can pour hot water on it to kill any microbes.   



Did you know every seed counts to a finch in North America? Fresh seeds are a must when trying to attract finches to your garden.

The American goldfinch favors fresh seeds over stale ones and it would be a good practice to remove old seeds from the feeders before adding fresh and new seed batches. Regularly check your feeders for any seed spoilage and remove them as soon as spotted. Having a good tube feeder with ample air circulation can help prevent seeds from molding too soon.

Since most bright yellow finches’ diet consists of seeds, you can use a combination of nyjer and sunflower seeds which are rich in oil and easy to eat with little beaks. There are a lot of seed combinations in one pack being sold in pet stores/shops that can get finches to favor your garden. Using the right seeds to get these finches fed will make your feeder a popular choice of feeding source for these birds. 

Maintain your Finch Feeders and Bird Bath

What falls under the feeder should be regularly clean to minimize the risk of diseases for the wild bird and finches. These spilled seeds and hulls can attract sparrows and doves that forage on bright yellow finches and other small birds. 

Clean feeders are more attractive than unkempt ones. Check the feeders regularly and shake the contents to loosen up the seeds inside. Moldy seeds tend to clump together and should be removed. Fresh and clean seeds should be used to have these finches fed. To ensure that seeds do not get wet and clumpy and impossible to extract, use weather guards to your feeders which can protect the contents when it rains. 

Birdbaths also tend to get dirty with bird droppings and other fallen materials like twigs and leaves. Regularly clean this area and place fresh water to ensure regular visitors of your feathered friends. 

Tie Colorful Ribbons in your Backyard

Colors that nature does not commonly have are extremely attractive to birds since they have extreme sensitivity to uncommon and unnatural colors.

Adding bright ribbons on several tree trunks and also in the feeder can greatly attract goldfinches any bird to explore and eat on your backyard. These colorful ribbons should be visibly placed so that they can catch bird attention. 

Ribbons moving gently in the air can assure a wild bird that your backyard is a safe feeding zone where other birds before have explored and find the new feeders area secure. 


Goldfinches like thistles a lot as they nest later than other species, waiting for these plants to ripen. They use thistledown to line their nest during the breeding seasons between June to August. 

They carefully choose vertical structures with strong support to build their cup-shaped nest. If you have tall trees in your backyard, they can provide a good nesting area for these birds. Aside from tall trees, they also prefer shaded locations and low dense shrubs to build their nesting place. 

You can help raise finches in your backyard by providing a secure place for their nesting place. Having dandelions and thistles around can add to the attraction your garden provides for these birds.

The tricks and tips to keep attracting these birds to your garden summed up are environmental factors, the right seed combinations, the right type of feeders. Maintaining these all year round can compensate you with a natural view of the finches’ activities and endless songs and chatter that are soothing to your ears. 

FAQ about Finches

FAQ about Finches

How do you attract finches to a bird feeder?

Have you ever seen a tube feeder? Use this type along with other feeders as it is designed for bright yellow finches. They can come in tubes, upside down tubes, rotating ports, mesh sacks, and 2-in one tubes. 

Since finches are clinging birds, using a feeding tube-type feeder can be a good choice. These birds have the cute ability to cling to the feeder and eat upside down. Attracting the small to medium size mighty finch with their colorful plumage to your feeders can be possible using the right kind of seeds favored by these birds. 

It is important to choose the right feeders designed for goldfinches as they will mostly hold small kernels like the thistle seeds or nyjer and prevent them from falling out of the feeder and wasting away. 

Thistle seeds are highly favored by finches because of their high oil content. This provides the finches energy to sustain their endless activities. Do not overfill the feeders with these seeds, however, as they tend to lose their oiliness once exposed. Keep the unused thistle or nyjer in an airtight container to preserve their freshness.

Check the freshness of nyjer seeds by pinching them to check for oiliness. A house finch can tell fresh seeds from stale ones and a continuous seed supply can attract more American goldfinches to eat in your yard. 

Sunflower seeds also have high oil content preferred by finches. A combination of these two can make your feeders attractive to a house finch. Pet shops also sell finch seed supplies. These can be a combination of 2 or 4 seeds while some can be a blend of seed variety.

How long does it take for finches to find feeders?

Setting up your yard into a finches’ natural habitat can be a daunting task because you are not sure if they will like your arrangements. Finches can get curious about new surroundings and may visit your feeder after a day or two.

If we follow the general rule of feeder finding, finches like other birds, are creatures of habit. They will eat in areas they are used to. It will likely take them several weeks, or up to four weeks before feeding in a new place. 

When putting up your feeders for the first time, be patient. Finches might be wary of the new food source and check if the new area is secure enough to eat. You can place some weeds or twigs in the feeder for a natural look and don’t forget to provide a water source for these birds.

Installing a birdbath where they can drink, bathe and cool themselves is a plus to your feeders and yard. This artificial puddle or shallow pond of the water-filled basin can add beauty to your yard and turn it into a vital part of your wildlife garden that finches like. 

Attracting these wild birds can be a feast or famine to the eyes. Once they have discovered your yard and deemed it an ideal food source area, they will mostly flock to your feeder.

There are days where you cannot get over the bunches of these birds cramming your feeding area and birdbath, and other days where no one shows up. Just maintain the availability of fresh seed though and clean the birdbaths as anytime they can show up and serenade you with their happy tunes.

Where do you put a finch feeder?

Security is the foremost concern of American goldfinches when they are busy feeding and not so wary about their surroundings. Placing your feeder near a tree or a shrub can encourage them to explore the new feeding area and make them less vulnerable to the predator that might be lurking nearby.

Once they are used to feeding in your yard, you can move the feeder far enough from the trees and shrubs where squirrels might have access to it. 

Place the feeders in places that would be safe for American goldfinches to be feeding at. Installing hanging feeders can also be a good option as finches are noted for being agile and can land and eat on a swaying feeder. A Finch feeder is better off placed high above a pole out of reach by predators.

Do not place the feeders out in the open, making American goldfinches feel vulnerable about being exposed. The feeling of security should be established for finches to explore the newly discovered food source.

Having a perching stick around can double the fun of watching these birds take turns on the feeders. The perching stick is like a waiting area where they can grip their little claws on and chatter while waiting for their turn.

If you find a good rough branch, clean it first by using a brush and water, or you can go a little extra on cleanliness by pouring hot water to kill parasites on the branch. Install the perching stick near the feeder. 

Finding ways to keep these birds closer to where you are so you can enjoy watching their activities take only a little effort. Mimicking what they have on the wide-open fields can help attract them to your yard.  

How do I attract finches to my garden

How do I attract finches to my garden?

Nothing is more attractive to finches than having fresh seeds and water sources that can supply their needs for survival. An endless supply of fresh, strong black-colored seeds available in the feeder is a good attraction for these birds.

Varieties of oil-rich seed like thistle or sunflower in the feeder can create a good impression together with a clean birdbath. Note that the lean months of natural seed production that they can forage around are November to March. 

You can supplement their need for seed supplies by continually providing their chosen seed during these months using your feeder. Stock up on seed varieties but make sure to keep them dry and well preserved in airtight containers. Hulled sunflower chips and kernels, nyjer, and millet are some that are well-liked by finches.  

Water is an essential environmental factor for all birds. They will fly to great distances just to find areas where they can have water. Providing a water source all year round, even in winter for these birds can improve the chances of attracting them to your yard. A mister or dripper can be used to provide a fresh water supply. Ensure that the birdbath is well maintained to avoid making it a breeding ground for diseases. 

Place brightly colored streamers to attract these birds to your yard. Finches, like other birds, are color sensitive and can be immensely attracted to unfamiliar colors not commonly seen swaying on trees or poles with the feeder within sight.

This can trick these birds to go down and inspect the area. The movement of these ribbons can assure the finches that the area has been hosting other birds before and can be assured that the new feeder is a secure place to eat.


Did you learn a lot about how to attract finches? We hope you did! You can use the knowledge you’ve learned from this article to finally attract those goldfinches especially when you’re situated in North America. Don’t forget to get that seed variety, install water sources, plant thistle plants in your backyard or any other plants that bright yellow finches love to eat. This will be very helpful to get a goldfinch group coming to your backyard during summer or even when they are ready to migrate in preparation for winter.

Take note of our tips related to attracting these birds along with blue jays and other wild birds in your area. Once you’ve set your backyard to be close to being a natural habitat, this will surely make finches love to hang around in your area. Get ready for these North America goldfinches to take turns in eating the seed on your feeders which can make a blissful sight.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

A bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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