Feeding Finches

By far, the most numerous birds that we see in our garden, after the sparrows of course, are finches. Their numbers appear to have remained fairly constant over the past 30 years, despite the loss of many neighborhood treees due to Dutch elm disease and the ash borer. Like the sparrows, they are adaptable.

I’m never quite sure if these are purple finches or house finches. Even the National Audubon Society does not seem to give a definitive explanation. There are just too many variables.

They are feisty little creatures and one of the few birds that are willing to get into a scrap with the sparrows at the bird feeders where they very often come out on top.

One incident that occured last year, involving finches, while not funny at the time, makes me laugh (and shudder) now when I think about it. I’d gone out to fill the feeders and didn’t notice a finch sitting right by the doorstep. As I pulled the door shut, the finch hopped in and was trapped between the door and the storm door. After a few minutes I turned around and saw the finch looking back at me through the window with what I can only describe as a look of consternation. Gazing at each other in wild surmise, we were at an impasse. He couldn’t get out and, because of my overwhelming fear of birds, I couldn’t even touch the handle of the door to allow him to escape. Eventually I did the only thing possible, flung open the door, screamed and ran. The bird flew out and landed on the feeder, probably wondering what all the commotion was about. “Silly woman!”


19 thoughts on “Feeding Finches

  1. Oh Sue, what a horrible thing for you with the finch in the door. Glad neither of you was permanently injured. My yard is overrun with finches and yes, they are nasty at times, even to each other. I began seeing many with the reddish heads some time ago and found a site that did name them as house finches but the red heads are males going through molt. No idea how true that is, but now whenever I see a pushy red head it seems to make sense that it’s a male 😉

  2. Lovely photos of the colourful finches in your garden. I can remember reading before your fear of birds so can only praise you for your kindness towards all the flying finches etc that you feed. Very brave indeed!

  3. Lovely that you feed the birds despite your fear. You should be proud that you were able to free the trapped bird! I like the finches (I think your photos are of purple finches although it’s hard to tell definitively) even though they can be real scrappers!

  4. Wow, what are the odds of something like that happening? Maybe your little ‘guest’ was chilly and thought the door was the queue for the salad bar. I always enjoy seeing these feisty little things. The males are cute and colorful in the drab winter landscape.

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