Each season of the year has its own unique draws for most of us in the birding world. While we all enjoy the spoils of birding year-round, spring, summer, fall and winter each have their own perks.
In the spring, the colourful plumage and breeding rituals captivate us, the summer’s hummers keep us busy, fall is a season of preparation and the winter brings us a variety of different species.
Among some of our favourite winter visitors are our winter finches. Here in the Ottawa area, we can be delighted to see a variety of finches such as purple finches, pine siskins, red crossbills and a number of redpolls among others. While their presence in our area is dependent on a number of factors, food is usually the number one reason we see them. As we interpret each season’s finch forecast, what birds we see is usually dependent on the food available up north and in our area for these birds.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to attract and keep your favourite winter finch species around your yard, should we be so fortunate to have them in our region.
Natural Food Sources
We can’t stress the development of natural food sources and habitat enough! When it comes to finches, many of their favourite food exist naturally in and around our yards. Seeds and seed heads are a common food source for many finches and those in the know prepare their outdoor spaces and gardens as such.
While some will opt to clean up seed-bearing flowers and plants such as zinnias and marigolds, for example, natural birders know how much our winter finches love them. Design your yard to hold these types of seed-bearing plants and you will be treated to a plethora of birds throughout the year!
Seed and Feed
Outside of natural food sources, pairing a tube feeder with specialized seed is a great compliment to the plants you may have in your garden or yard. When it comes to finches, a specialized approach is usually best as they do have dietary preferences. We do our best to make choosing a seed as easy as possible depending on where you reside and the type of birds you are trying to attract. With regards to finches, we carry two types of seed that will keep them coming back for more.
The first is our nyjer seed, a small, oily seed that is perfect for giving birds everything they need to cope with the winter cold. Additionally, we also carry a wild finch blend with contains nyjer seed along with dried fruit, wild canary seed and other ingredients formulated just for finches.