Garden Birds – The finches

Continuing on our theme of garden birds I thought we’d have a look at some finches. In our garden here in Ireland, we get greenfinches, chaffinches, goldfinches and bullfinches. Finches are found all over the world. It’s interesting to note that the America Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) looks totally different from our Irish goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis).

As you may be able to guess from their beaks the finches are seed eaters, though they do take some insects too. Chaffinches are among the most common finches. You’ll find all four of the finch species in gardens, parks and hedgerows.

The greenfinches are adept at hanging off peanut feeders as are the goldfinch, but only some chaffinches master the trick. They are seen more commonly underneath the feeders picking up what has been dropped by the other birds. The bullfinches appear to be more shy and I don’t think we have ever seen them on our feeders, though they are regular visitors to the garden.

It’s a good idea to plant things in your garden that will provide finches with food. Teasel is a great plant. And don’t be too quick to pull out weeds. Every spring I love watching the bullfinches as they make their way around the dandelions growing in the gaps of our patio removing the seeds. Allow grass to grow tall too and the birds will come and feed on the seed heads.



You can view photos of all our Irish finches on the Birdwatch Ireland page.


Take part in a garden bird survey. BirdwatchIreland’s garden bird survey starts the 1st of December.

Colour in a chaffinch




    1. Me too:) – but I only set mine in autumn, so have five plants to plant out in the spring! It’s first year I succeeded to get it germinated!


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