The number of Finches in our bird feeding area varies pretty greatly. It seems like there is a direct correlation between the volume and freshness of seed and the numbers of birds that are around our feeders. we have seen as many as 20 finches at one time.
We have 3 types of finches in our area, American Goldfinch, House Finch and Purple Finch. We definitely see a greater number of of American GoldFinches than we do the other varieties. I love watching the colors of the goldfinches change with the seasons. I also love to watch finches because they are so polite. Here is a picture of our feeder full of finches.
These little birds can be very feisty, sometimes seemingly fighting over a perch on our Thistle seed tube feeder. Other times, they are the most polite birds, sitting, perched in the wings so to speak, waiting for one bird to exit the feeder before they try to land.
Getting a good thistle feeder is vital. I recommend Droll Yankees products or the feeders from Wild Birds Unlimited. It is essential that you have a thistle feeder that is easy to clean. I also have seen drastically different results based on the seed that I feed. I usually buy my birdseed at Dotty’s Pet Supplies in Clio. It is probably not the freshest seeds, but when you are buying a couple hundred pounds of seed at a time, economical sometimes trumps freshness. I have purchased thistle seed at Wild Birds Unlimited in Frankenmuth and was very pleased with the results. I just can’t afford to purchase it consistently and it is sometimes inconvenient to get there. I recently purchased a bag of Scott’s Finch & Songbird mix. So far, the birds have shown a clear preference. We moved the feeder at the same time as we refilled it with this new seed. Usually, this will cause them to feel wary about the feeder for a period of time. However, to our surprise, they were coming to the feeder in large numbers the very next day.
For someone new to feeding birds, a thistle sock is usually a perfect way to start. One thing to note about feeding Thistle, many varieties of birds do not appreciate this seed like finches do. The number of species of birds that you have the opportunity to see will be somewhat limited. One neat thing is that occasionally woodpeckers like to stop in at the thistle feeder. They will do this particularly if you have a finch mix that includes not only thistle, but also sunflower hearts.
Finches are susceptible to a disease of their eye. A lot of information can be found on this condition at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. If you see any Finches that seem to have eye trouble, please look into this study and see if you can participate. We have so far not seen any finches that have any eye problems.