Many backyard bird-watchers enjoy the sight of finches fluttering around their bird feeders. The most popular types of finch feeders include tube, mesh, and cage feeders. These devices accommodate the small, feathered visitors while keeping other birds and unwelcome intruders at bay.
Finches are small, colorful, playful birds that generally enjoy flocking together when feeding. They are cling feeders, which means that birds can feed while perched in any position, including upside down. While some birds feast on fruit, nectar, and suet, finches eat only seeds and prefer nyjer, thistle, and black sunflower seeds.
Often, people choose tube-style finch feeders for their backyard sanctuaries. This feeder varies in size and style but basically consists of a long, narrow tube, usually plastic, filled with seeds. The tube has various small holes that allow access to the food within. Several perches are generally situated at different points on the tube so that the finches can rest on the perch while eating the seeds. Due to the fact that the holes are usually quite small, other larger birds and animals such as squirrels have a hard time getting at the seeds and typically leave the feeder alone.
Another popular type of finch feeder is the mesh variety, also called net feeders. This type of food dispenser often resembles a tube feeder, except that the tube itself is made of a firm, screen-type netting and generally doesn’t have perches attached. The finches hang directly on the mesh exterior and access the seeds through the tiny openings. Other mesh feeders are made of softer netting material and, when filled with seed, dangle like overfilled socks. This design thwarts the attempts of other creatures to access the seeds, but the finches easily perch on the netting and peck the seeds through the fine mesh openings.
Some people prefer to use cage feeders for their feathered friends. This item has the same design as a tube feeder but is enclosed by a metal cage. Finches can easily squeeze through the openings of the cage, while other animals cannot. Consequently, these types of finch feeders not only safeguard the seeds against theft by squirrels and larger birds, but they also protect the finches from predators while they are eating.
No matter the type, bird enthusiasts should hang finch feeders about six feet (approximately two meters) from natural covering, such as trees or bushes. This gives the finches a place to gather prior to feeding and offers shelter in the event they are startled. Also, some people prefer to place several feeders together, and in fact, some manufacturers even sell finch feeders that consist of several units linked together. Given the fact that finches are social feeders, this is perfectly acceptable and generally results in a multitude of colorful, exuberant finches flocking to the yard.