Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening

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-   -   Finch feeding to exclude house sparrows (http://www.wildlifegardeners.org/forum/birds-including-raptors-hummers/11717-finch-feeding-exclude-house-sparrows.html)

Teresa 05-30-2013 07:31 AM

Finch feeding to exclude house sparrows
Any suggestions on how to go about attracting and 'feeding' finches while excluding house sparrows?

We have a thistle/nyjer feeder but I get disheartened at the amount of waste and took it down recently when use seemed to slow a bit.

Have since seen some of them at the feeders with black oil sunflower.

Don't often see house sparrows, but don't want to do anything to attract them or support them in any way!

Suggestions for feeders or feed? (I usually only put out black oil sunflower, safflower and occasionally thistle/nyjer)

EllenW 05-30-2013 09:04 AM

The finches have been coming to my flat
Feeder to eat safflower seeds. The house sparrows
Don't like it

sprucetree 05-30-2013 10:16 AM

It's great you have some yellow finches; Their song is so beautiful for such a tiny bird.

I notice they are very thirsty birds and some clean water in shallow pans will attract them.

Besides sunflowers they like seeds from coneflowers

Gloria 05-30-2013 01:07 PM

Our garden has many goldfinch every summer. Instead of a feeder we just make sure there is plenty of seed from native plants. They will also eat the dandelion seeds in early spring. Purple coneflowers seem to be a real favorite and they will sit on a drying cone removing seeds and singing. The perennial prairie sunflowers,liatris, grasses, helopsis, all make great seed for the finches.

Helianthus 05-30-2013 02:27 PM

I love goldfinches for their independence! They seem to prefer finding their own natural seeds more than just mooching off of folks like us. My yard is lousy with them in the summers when my sunflowers and black eyed susans are finishing up. Plant those things and you'll see them pulling seeds out while the lazy English sparrows watch in envy.

Another thing you can try are the upside down feeders. These have the footholds right above the feeding holes so the finches have to hang upside down to get the seeds out. It takes them a bit to figure it out, but the loser sparrows never do. Chickadees also can hang upside down to pull out the nyjer seeds!


sprucetree 05-30-2013 02:44 PM

Great point about the finches not visiting bird feeders and finding the food plants themselves.

But with the Sunflowers sometimes the squirrels get greedy and steal the whole head so plant plenty.

Teresa 05-30-2013 10:51 PM

Actually I have compass plant (Silphium laciniatum?), Helianthus microcephalis and Coreopsis _______; all yellow, that the goldfinches seem to really like, as well as brown-eyed Susan and coneflower, but it will be a while yet before any of them have flowers, much less seeds.

I like to make it easy for the parents to feed themselves at this time of the year even if they have to find lots of insects for the youngsters.

And I like to feed all the finches--house and purple as well as gold.

Anyone know if they like 'cup plant' (I think it's Silphium per-something. . .)?
I've been thinking about that one, but worried that mosquitoes might breed in the 'cups'!

Great reminder to plant more for the different finch species--any other favorite natives that the finches really enjoy?

liquidambar 06-02-2013 08:44 PM

The best bird feeders I found for finches is those socks stuffed with the tiny sun flower seeds and the thistle seeds.

I have seen five or six hanging off those socks, as cute as can be. I reuse the socks and hang them back up. Last year the socks finally dry rotted so I could not use them. I bought a tiny wire bird feeder. It will do, I guess. I don't have to feed them for too long- just as soon as you all have mentioned the purple cone flowers seed.
I also use to raise those tiny seeded sun flowers to bring them in.

I want rid of house sparrows, but I think once a bunch have been raised around your place they are there for now on. They are in my hazel nut shrubs - pooping, and fluttering around - and bringing in ticks to get on me when I try to mulch my plants, and even into the fall when I am trying to pick up my hazelnuts. Bad little things.

EllenW 06-03-2013 11:41 AM

I haven't had any house sparrows since
I started using safflower and striped sunflower
Seed. It may be because they are off nesting.
I hope not

liquidambar 06-03-2013 12:39 PM

Ellen, I am sure most of my have been born here, but I would not doubt that yours is at my house too.

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