Bullfinches seem to inspire all of us. Maybe it is there fleeting visits, beautiful colours or the way they always eat as a couple — who knows! The bullfinch is a bird we all seem to want to attract more into our gardens. When I asked our facebook fans and subscribers, what bird would you like to attract the most the majority said Bullfinches. So how do we attract them into our garden?
A way to a birds heart is it’s stomach — canary seed?
Lots of people suggest adding sunflower hearts and nyger seeds to the garden, typical Finch attractive food. I have both on my garden feeder and have done for sometime, for a while the Bullfinch couple that I see quite often, teased me by eating from a tree in my neighbours garden. In fact they were eating the buds from a blossom tree, they love tree buds. They love tree buds so much that they were once on the vermin list because they were pain to farmers and Orchard owners.
I didn’t really get anywhere with the sunflower hearts of the nyger seeds. I recently changed the recipe for my Spring & Summer mixes taking out the linseeds and replacing it with canary seeds. Once this was in the feeder I noticed that the bullfinches started coming and eating the mix — it became apparent to me that they loved the canary seeds inside the mix in particular.
As a bit of a mad bird woman, I decided to add canary seed on it’s own to separate feeder to see if it was in fact this seed that was drawing them close and to my amazement it was!
I have done further tests and found that they also seem to enjoy a bit of pinhead Oatmeal, also in the Spring and Summer mix and the Safflowers.
All of this is quite interesting, considering that Bullfinches are notorious of tree buds, berry eating and loving insects. I do wonder if the cold weather we have had this year, April 2018, has made a difference to their eating habits. They might be trying new varieties of food in order to keep on a bit more fat than usual. Certainly the eating habits of my other birds are different from last year.
They are also attracted by fruit trees — if you’re not precious about actually having the fruit, you could plant some blackcurrant bushes, redcurrants or other berry producing trees. They love these and have always been problematic to the fruit producing farmers because of their love of berries.
You could choose:
- Red Currant
- Raspberries — they love these (but so do the squirrels so just beware!) I never actually got any raspberries last year!
- Leave your Dock leaves to go to seed, they also enjoy eating dock leaf heads — they have small black seeds in them (not nyger) that they enjoy eating!
- Pyracantha with their late producing berries are also an attractive plant to bullfinches
- Honeysuckles are a great choice for their berries
- Holly bushes — these may work, make sure you choose a female so you get the berries
- Guelder Rose Berries are a good choice too!
The fact of the matter is these birds are pretty shy, they might look like small bruisers on a night out but actually they are one of the most shy birds in UK. You might not notice them actually eating from your garden, they tend to seek opportunities when noone is looking. They may not come to a feeder that is the main feeder you use, you could try adding food elsewhere in your garden, maybe a little more secluded than somewhere you always hang out for instance.
They are resident in most of the UK though so you have a good chance of getting them to your garden, but unfortunately with them being Amber status there are a not as many of them!