When to Put Out Thistle Seeds for Finches?

Finches are small to medium-sized birds with stout conical bills used for eating seeds and nuts. Their scientific classification has undergone numerous changes due to their skull structure and mitochondrial and nuclear DNA. More than 200 finch species are now divided into many subfamilies and genera.

Regardless of how many or what particular species live in your area, they’ll all be attracted by seeds! When should you put out thistle seeds for finches, and what are some other tips to make your backyard attractive to them? Keep reading to find out!

when to put out thistle seed for finches

When to Put Out Thistle Seeds for Finches?

Since finches do not migrate, you can put out thistle seeds anytime.

If you notice finches in your neighborhood during winter and want to attract them in your yard and take care of them when the weather gets colder, you can put out a thistle feeder right away.

During winter, finches do not move as often as when it’s warm, and they most probably can’t always find enough food to fulfill their nutritional needs. So making your garden attractive to finches during winter will greatly help their population.

However, if you don’t have this possibility, you can always put out thistle seeds when the weather improves.

Spring is a perfect time to help finches find their way toward your backyard. Keeping a thistle feeder out all year round won’t hurt, too, as long as you have time to take care of it regularly, remove the stale seeds, and add new ones.

How Should You Feed Thistle Seeds to Finches?

You’ll have to let nature do its thing, or, in other words, you’ll have to let finches come to the feeders themselves. What you can do instead is to make your backyard as attractive as possible.

First, you can opt for a finch feeder, as they are comfortable to feed from. The best feeders for finches are finch stations, feeder tubes, and socks.

Most bird enthusiasts prefer installing socks because they’re the easiest to use. Finches hang from them and extract the thistle seeds.

However, if you want to attract other birds besides finches, which may be larger, you can opt for tube feeders. Don’t forget that larger birds may leave finches without food though!

How to Pick Finch Seeds?

We also recommend choosing the seeds carefully. Some products contain thistle seeds only, while others mix thistle seeds with other seeds.

Finches prefer thistle seeds because they are high in oil content, thus providing the bird with the energy they need, especially during winter.

However, choosing a seed mix won’t hurt the birds’ diet, as most mixes still have half thistle content, and the other half is a mix between other types of seeds like canary seeds, sunflower chips, peanut chunks, or golden, red, or white proso millet.

If finches are already regular visitors to your garden, you probably know what seeds they prefer, so consider buying those. If you notice they don’t really enjoy eating a mix of seeds, stick to pure thistle seed products. Moreover, before buying a mixed seed product, you should consider the fact that it may attract other birds like starlings or house sparrows, and finches may remain without their required daily intake.

Another thing to take into account is avoiding mixes with milo as a component because most birds will not eat it. Besides, not all mixes will fit with the feeder you have. For example, peanut chunks and sunflower chips probably won’t fit through the sock feeder ports and may get them clogged.

How to Attract Finches to a Thistle Feeder?

If you’ve already put out thistle seeds and finches still don’t visit your backyard, here are some other things you can do:

  • Use brightly colored ribbons – yellow, red, blue, and purple ribbons will do the magic. Since finches are extremely sensitive to colors, they’ll rapidly spot your bright yard, especially during windy weather, since the ribbons will move with the wind. You can place them near the feeder so the birds land right where needed!
  • In the wild, finches prefer well-wooded areas or even mountainous areas. This indicates they’ll be attracted to yards with tall trees, dense shrubs, and shaded spots. Moreover, finches often nest in vertical structures with strong support. Maintaining their preferred habitat in your garden is crucial.
  • Choose a good location for the feeder. If you leave it out in the open, finches won’t even dare approach it because they’ll feel threatened and vulnerable to predation. Instead, place the feeder near trees and shrubs and make sure it’s about 10 feet away from shelters. Placing feeders near a source of water will also help.
  • Plants! Many finch species are attracted to plants like daisies, cottonwood fluff, poppies, and marigold. Planting more around your garden will definitely make them more comfortable there!

2 thoughts on “When to Put Out Thistle Seeds for Finches?”

  1. I have been putting out thistle seed socks for years and get lots of finch. However, last summer was extremely hot (Redding, Ca area) and I got maybe 4-6 finches a day. Then, when the fall weather started, they came back in mass. So I’m feeding year-round. The seed gets pretty expensive when I’m having to fill the sock every other day, but those finch are beautiful and count on that sock now, every single day!


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