How to get finches into the garden? (explained more)

I live in rural-ish Leicestershire with a small-medium sized garden with a stocked bird feeder. I get lots of different species daily (such as tits, pigeons, thrushes and many more) EXCEPT for finches. I have had the feeder set up in the garden for approx 6 months, and not a single finch wants to visit. Tediously, I have researched lots to get them into my garden but they simply just never appear. I know it sounds like I’m trying a lot, but I see them weekly in the trees on the road surrounding my house, so it’s not like they’re not nearby. I offer: sunflower seeds + hearts, mixed seed, suet balls, peanuts, and NYJER. My garden has 2 large conifer trees and multiple 2m shrubs. Does anyone have any advice specifically regarding how to get them to visit, even though I have everything they love? Any advice or tips (even if it’s super niche or expensive) on how to get them to visit would be super appreciated. 

  • Hard to say, Ellis. It sounds as though you are doing all the right things. In my garden sunflower hearts are definitely a favourite. Not had much success with nyger.
    Have you tried relocating the feeder. If the feeder is too much out in the open birds can feel vulnerable. I usually try to locate mine near to a shrub (4 to 6 feet away) so that they've got somewhere to evade potential predators.
    I presume these are hanging seed feeders. Goldfinches and Greenfinches prefer those but Chaffinches often seem to prefer feeding from the ground.



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  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Thanks very much for the advice, I was wondering whether the feeder was a little in the open actually. My garden is practically a square with tall shrubs lining the back and right fences. The feeder is located towards the back fence so it has a “wall” of shrubs 1ft behind, but other than that the rest of my garden is just open space. I know you can’t visualise my garden, but anywhere you could think it would be best?  Funnily enough, I have a forsythia which sparrows especially love to perch in, and I’ve heard bullfinches like to nip the buds in spring so hopefully this may help too. Thanks 

  • I had hawthorn over-hanging my 5ft tall garden fence and just hung the feeder from a fence post underneath. The hawthorn gave cover and the finches (and tits) loved it, although it took them 3 months to find it. They could just queue up in the hedge and hop down to the feeder. However there are other factors to consider. If cats can get on the fence, don't hang the feeder so close to it. The hawthorn prevented cats gaining access to the fence in my garden and the birds could see anything coming from the other way so they felt safe. In short, make sure your feeders aren't overlooked by places where cats can hang out and be a threat.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Thanks very much for the advice, my garden fences are around 2m high and there aren’t many cats around my area so I have no worries regarding cats. As both of you have mentioned this now, I will move my feeder to a slightly more covered place in hope of the lucky day a finch comes to visit.
  • Hi

    are you using other types of feeders for Tits etc? If there are lots of birds visiting they will pull other species in


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  • I thought I would never see a green finch in my garden but a change to sunflower hearts did the trick, I know you are feeding sunflower hearts and seed it may be just a time thing, I know birds in my garden come and go at different times of the day, early morning is usually the best time to see them for me. I am retired so I have more time on my hands and spend a fair bit of time watching them. They are a lovely bird and I hope they visit you soon.
  • In reply to seymouraves:

    I don’t have any specific bird feeders for certain species (except for finches), the blue tits + great tits eat the sunflower hearts though.
  • In reply to i love robins:

    Thanks for the advice, I will wake up earlier for a couple mornings to watch the bird feeder as the sun rises. I think finches are very lovely (sound nice too), however when I first saw one on holiday in Scotland I was surprised by how small they were. For some reason, I thought they would be starling sized :) haha
  • In reply to ellis187:

    Let us know if you see some, hope you do, if not spring is on its way big chance as it gets warmer
  • In reply to i love robins:

    Got so close this morning! A flock of about 20 of them around my housing estate, cheeping away. They then flew into my neighbours trees but left after a crow came bashing around. I think it won’t be long until I get them into my garden. Although the tip about getting up earlier did definitely help.

    Thanks, Ellis