Finches are one of the smallest species of birds in the entire earth, and they are quiet birds that don’t need interaction with humans. They build basket-shaped nests in trees, bushes, or in crevices of rocks.
When they use feeders, finches tend to pass on diseases such as trichomonosis and conjunctivitis, also known as House Finch Eye Disease. When sick birds and healthy birds use the same feeders, they happen to pass diseases on to each other.
The solution to keeping finches healthy in your backyard is to have feeders that are easy to clean and to have dispersed natural foods such as seed-producing plants surround the feeders.
Types of finch feeders
Sock Feeder: These feeders are great for storing nyjer seed. Usually made out of nylon netting in the shape of a long sock, this feeder allows finches to cling directly onto the soft mesh. This durable feeder allows for multiple birds to feed at the same time.
Mesh Feeder: Metal feeders are the most durable feeders, and the various wire mesh designs help discourage squirrels from wrecking havoc. Circular perch platforms are attached underneath the mesh to give finches plenty of space to settle in and eat the seed.
Tube Feeder: Hollow tubes keep seeds clean and dry, and if they contain metal feeding ports, can be squirrel proof. Finches can be attracted to these feeders depending on the size of the perches under the feeding ports.
Upside-Down Feeder: Upside-down feeders are different than tube feeders regarding the positioning of the perches. The feeding ports on these feeders are located below the perches, meaning that birds can hang upside-down while they eat the seed. Finches love to eat while hanging upside-down.
What is the best food for finches?
Make sure to buy a bird seed that has a strong black color. Finches won’t feed on seed that is brown and old looking. The best example of seed with black color is sunflower kernels. It’s a good source of nutrition for finches because it is high in fat content.
Nyjer Seed is a favorite food option among finches. The high oil content of nyjer is a great energy source for finches, and this seed is specially designed for finch feeders.
Birds like finches, chickadees, and doves prefer to eat nyjer seed, whereas most other birds won’t bother touching it. Nyjer seed lasts longer because it is so small, and it takes a while for finches to eat it all. Larger seeds take up more room and are more quickly taken out of feeders.
Take note of how long you keep nyjer seed inside your feeder because, in the minds of finches, there is an expiration date. If the nyjer seed in your feeder is dried out, finches will ignore the seed. You can tell if nyjer seed is no longer fresh by pinching it with your fingernail. If no oil comes out of the seed, then you need to replace it.
Where to place a finch feeder?
Finches often get antsy, and they can be reluctant to visit bird feeders. Placing a feeder out in the middle of your yard can leave finches vulnerable to predators.
Finches will feel more safe if you place your feeder near a shrub or tree. Once finches have discovered your feeder, you can then move it far enough away from the shrubs and trees to prevent squirrels from invading.
It takes time for wild birds to get used to new feeders. One good way to encourage birds to try out new feeders is to temporarily remove all other feeders from your yard. By getting rid of older feeders, you give finches a chance to embrace the new feeders because the distraction of the older feeders won’t be present.
Tips to attract finches
- Add brightly colored ribbons and plants: Having a great sensitivity to color, birds are attracted to vivid colors that are not commonly found in nature. Add a colorful ribbon in your yard that will move in the breeze. Colorful ribbons imitate the movements of other birds, which makes finches feel like other birds have been at your feeder.
- Keep weeds up: If you have weeds in your yard, keep them around. The American Goldfinch prefers weedy fields, and they love the seeds that come from common weeds such as ragweed, tarweed, and milkweed. Flowers in bloom and plants that bear seed easily attract finches to yards.
- Avoid using chemicals: Pesticides like weed-killing sprays and other chemicals take out plants and prevent them from growing. Pesticides are highly toxic to birds, and in the case of finches, you would be taking away seed-bearing plants that they love. Pesticides can harm birds by eliminating the vegetation used for nesting.
- Keep refilling your feeder: Finches rarely ever empty an entire feeder. They are known to eat half the seed that is available and then leave the rest. If you find your feeder half-emptied, check on the remaining seed. If the seed is still good, fill up the feeder with new seed first, and then refill the rest of the feeder with the left-over seed.
How to choose the right finch feeder?
- Think small: Finches are some of the smaller wild birds, and they are the kind that will be overwhelmed by large objects. Knowing they prefer to eat smaller seeds, choose a feeder that best stores sunflower seeds and nyjer seeds.
- Colorful feeders: A wooden feeder with a dull brown color won’t grab the attention of finches. The more colorful your feeder is, the more interested finches will be.
- Easy maintenance: You should have a feeder that is easy to clean. Finches and other wild birds won’t come to your feeder if it is constantly filled with outdated and moldy seeds.
- Versatility: You should have the ability to hang your feeder anywhere in your yard. If your feeder is limited to hanging on a single hook, then you will be losing opportunities to attract finches.
- Weight: A general rule of thumb in feeding birds is that your feeder should hold at least 2 pounds of seeds. Look for this capacity if you don’t want to refill your feeder constantly.
- Metal mesh: Finches have small bills and they need a feeder where they can be allowed to reach seeds. Metal mesh feeders are rust-free and last for a long time, unlike plastic feeders.
Best finch feeders
1. Droll Yankees Finch Flocker Feeder
This goldfinch feeder features a yellow base and cap to specifically attract goldfinches to your yard.
This is considered to be a thistle feeder because it is highly recommended that nyjer seed be used to store inside this feeder.
An internal seed baffle directs the seed to the lowest level of the feeder. This ensures that the feeder will empty entirely and avoid seed buildup.
You will have a pleasant time filling up this feeder as you only need to slide the metal cap up the hanger. The bottom of the feeder comes off easy by removing the screw from the bottom.
If you are worried about the accumulation of mold and bacteria from outdated seeds, then you are in luck because it has drainage holes that help keep seeds dry and fresh.
What we liked
- Vibrant color
- Contains 20 ports
- Holds 3 ½ pounds of nyjer seed (no need to make constant trips back and forth for refill)
- Designed with a UV-stabilized polycarbonate seed tube that won’t discolor
What we didn’t like
- The wasted seed (finches are fussy eaters)
- The design of this feeder doesn’t protect well against ongoing rainfall
How much seed/food can fit: 3 ½ pounds worth of seed
What’s special about it: This feeder exclusively features nyjer seed as its food source.
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 36 inches
Feeds how many birds at once: 20
2. No/No Green and Black Finch Feeder
This is a tube feeder that features a customized wire mesh design, and it allows birds to either cling or perch.
It features a baffler top to discourage squirrels from invading, and a tray connected on the bottom to give birds space to perch.
There is no assembly required and it is easy to hang. Not requiring much maintenance, this feeder is easy to clean by way of handwashing.
This No/No feeder can handle some rainfall, but it is best to place this feeder in a protected area so that the seeds won’t get wet so easily.
This thistle seed feeder is originally designed to be only hung by its ring on top of the baffle, although it has a threaded hole that a pole can be screwed into.
What we liked
- Very easy to clean and low maintenance
- Ideal for both clinging and perching birds
- Clever internal baffling where birds can cling on at all levels until they empty the feeder
- Made completely out of metal
What we didn’t like
- You are limited to just hanging this feeder on its top ring (no alternative ways for hanging)
- Fits only nyjer seed
How much seed/food can fit: 2+ pounds of nyjer seed
What’s special about it: The unique combination of perching and clinging for birds as they approach this feeder.
Dimensions: 7.2 x 7.2 x 18.5 inches
Feeds how many birds at once: 10-15
3. Woodlink Natube 9 Finch Feeder
This Woodlink finch feeder comes with the classical design.
The perches included in the design, which are made out of plastic, are made for only one bird to sit on at a time.
This feeder is also specifically designed for smaller birds like finches, as the holes are much too small for birds like crows and ravens.
However, the plastic tube is vulnerable to larger birds because the holes can be made larger just from their pecking of the seed alone.
There are 2 screws located towards the bottom of the feeder that allows you to loosen when you plan on cleaning the feeder. Considering that the holes are small to accommodate smaller birds like finches, this feeder is only meant to have nyjer seed stored inside it.
Knowing how fussy finches can be as eaters, be prepared to lose a lot of seed from this feeder as it doesn’t retain seed well. The design of this feeder doesn’t come with a baffle on top, so it won’t be completely safe from squirrels.
What we liked
- Great design for smaller birds
- Small feeding ports (discourages larger birds)
- The hanging mount
- Very easy to refill and clean
How much seed/food can fit: 2 pounds
What’s special about it: You can hang this feeder on any hooks in your yard.
Dimensions: 15 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
Feeds how many birds at once: 8
4. Stokes Select Bird Feeder
A great definition of an upside-down feeder, the vibrant yellow color of the top and bottom of this feeder will easily grab the attention of finches.
Though it is made out of plastic, this feeder is made of a durable, high-density plastic that will not rust.
The metal wire mesh that makes up the body of the feeder is great for clinging birds.
The holes in the wire mesh are very small and can only support nyjer seed being stored inside the feeder.
This feeder has wide openings on both ends, which makes it easy for you to refill it whenever the seed level starts getting low. The baffle top, which is uniquely designed to mimic the look of a garden flower, prevents squirrels from jumping onto the sides of the feeder.
There is a very strong metal ring on the top, which keeps the feeder sturdy once you hang it on a hook.
What we liked
- Vibrant yellow color
- Wide openings of this feeder make it easy to refill and clean
- The large metal ring on the baffle top allows the feeder to be very sturdy when it hangs on a hook
What we didn’t like
- This feeder doesn’t protect the seed against bad weather such as heavy rainfall
How much seed/food can fit: 2 cups of thistle (nyjer) seed
What’s special about it: The combination of having an attractive design and being easy to clean and refill.
Dimensions: 4.6 x 4.6 x 8.4 inches
Feeds how many birds at once: 6
5. Aspects Quick-Clean Thistle Tube Feeder
Aspects Quick-Clean Thistle feeder contains a metal cap and base along with a clear, UV stabilized polycarbonate tube.
It has a base that is easily removable, allowing you to spend less time cleaning the entire feeder.
The metal caps and base are able to endure harsh weather conditions, including heavy rainfall and snow.
Though it is metallic gray in color, the brightness of this gray could entice finches to check out this feeder.
There are 10 feeding ports and the 5 perches are made of plastic. This is strictly a thistle feeder as its feeding stations are only meant to provide nyjer seeds.
What we liked
- Easily removable bottom
- Strong plastic perches (sturdy enough for small birds to stand on)
- The hanger on top is long enough to get out of the way when filling with nyjer seed
- There is a seed tray attached to the tube, you can remove the base and leave the tray which will allow finches to keep eating while you clean the base
What we didn’t like
- Only stores nyjer seed
- Not squirrel-proof
How much seed/food can fit: 1.5 pounds
What’s special about it: This feeder has a seed deflector in its base that allows for easy seed removal.
Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.8 x 19.9 inches
Feeds how many birds at once: 10