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Attracting Bullfinches in your garden

I am an avid bird lover and feed them all year round. Peanuts in a mesh feeder, dried mealworms, Niger and sunflower seeds are always available in my garden. And I usually top up things with homemade fat ball and fruits over the winter. As a result the garden has never been so full of feathered creatures. Regular visitors include pheasants, wood pigeons, house & tree sparrows, blackbirds, goldfinches, green finches, chaffinches, robins, blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits, starlings, collared doves, pied wagtails... And of course different members of the crow family. 
Yesterday was particularly exiting as I spotted a bullfinch couple. Never saw any around here before so this was pretty special. 
I know they are rather shy birds that don't visit bird tables very often but any idea what sort of food will attract them? Thx 



  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027
    They visit my Nyger seed feeder, but their preference is buds on the fruit trees.
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,885
    Sunflower hearts are their preferred food here. I get 3 or 4 pairs visiting regularly. I saw this one eating beakfulls of dandelion seeds this morning.

    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Thanks, I will stick with niger & sunflower seeds then.. Hopefully they will come back & become regulars!
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,619
    They sit in the sunflower hearts feeder stuffing themselves until they can barely move. Unless the nuthatch turns up of course then everybody legs it.   :) Then they go back to their full time job of destroying fruit buds >:)
  • plant pauperplant pauper Posts: 6,234
    Dandelions here too. I leave a patch uncut for the finches and Mr Bullfinch and Mrs Chaffinch were giving it a good thrashing this morning.
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Rhondda ValleyPosts: 2,704
    I used to get them in the Japonica shrub,but I don't know what bit of it they were eating,had one on my bird table a few times,so I would think it was the sunflower hearts.
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,148
    They don't really have any need to come into gardens here - too much farmland, woodland, and a NT garden next door, so they don't go short of food.
    Pity - because they're a delight when you do get a glimpse of them.
    We occasionally  had a pair visit at my last house which was more rural. They loved the emerging buds on the ornamental cherries there too!
    Lovely pic wild edges. They're really striking when you see that bright orange/red chest in the flesh.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • BijdezeeBijdezee BPosts: 1,484
    edited May 2018
    Same here Fairygirl. In fact the amount of bird activity is quite low in the garden, i never see a sparrow for example and i put it down to the rural setting.

    We get great and blue tits, chaffinches, some blackbirds and song thrushes and lots of wrens. But thats mostly it unless theres a  resting migrant visit like the black redstart. We DO get a lot of birds of prey though and the usual woodpidgeons and doves. Robins in the winter. 

    Sorry I'm being boring. But bullfinches, i thought they like teasels and rushes. 
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,253
    Bullfinches? Don’t talk to me about bullfinches. We have at least three pairs here and every apple blossom and plum blossom time they come and denude my fruit trees. Great long, barren lengths of branch and twig is what I am left with.

    I actually cheered when the kestrel took one from out of the tree the other day.

    Just buy a couple of fruit trees.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • The Bald GardenerThe Bald Gardener South West ScotlandPosts: 212
    I've not had the pleasure of a bullfinch visiting the garden, spotted a goldfinch which was nice and I've got a great tit nesting in my bird box. I'm loving watching the male bring the occasional titbit to the female and sitting on a nearby branch waiting for the her to come out. :smile:  I really hope I get to see the young uns emerge.

    Bullfinches (like most birds) will also feed on suet balls as well as berries, seeds and insects.
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