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What Do House Finches Eat? 10 Typical Foods

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House Finch eating from feeder

House Finches are small, attractive birds flying throughout the United States and North America. In the mid-20th century, these birds were sold illegally on the east coast but later released in the wild. House Finches have distinctive red markings on their bodies that make them unique from other small birds.

These birds usually eat everything. Their diet consists of vegetables, fruits, berries, small flowers, seeds, and buds. Like every living being, House Finches need proper nutrition to stay healthy and avoid certain diseases.

Since these birds live in suburbs, cities, and semi-open areas, they have adapted to diverse diets. So, you may also find them eating smaller insects.

Let’s explore more about the House Finches’ diets, so you can use these foods to attract these birds to your yard.

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The Diet of House Finches

Finches strive for nutritious meals containing essential minerals and vitamins, such as grains and seeds. The important nutrients include potassium, fiber, magnesium, zinc, sodium, and carbohydrates.

Here are 10 foods that a House Finch eats:

1. Seeds

Finches eat various seeds, including sunflower, canary, and nyjer seeds, along with sunflower hearts and chips. They may also eat a stick of wood with seeds and honey.

If House Finches come to your backyard, it’s better to find quality seeds that are waste free. You can easily find them on Amazon. The waste-free seeds ensure that the finches eat them all, so you won’t find any mess under the feeder.

As far as daily dosage is concerned, 1 teaspoon of seeds is enough for one bird. But, of course, if more birds come to your feeder, you must provide them with enough seeds.

male house finch perching on bird feeder

Image Credit: Chiyacat, Shutterstock


2. Grains

Like seeds, grains also make finches’ diet more delicious. These birds usually like rice, ground corn, buckwheat, quinoa, cracked corn, barley, red and white millet, oats, and many other grains.

You can attract finches to your yard by providing them with the right type of grains. Some birdwatchers use a combination of grains and seeds, such as sunflower chips, to lure finches in.

A mix of millets, flax, and grass seeds is a treat for these birds. In addition, this diet is rich in vitamins E and D, antioxidants, and calcium, keeping finches away from several diseases.


3. Fruits

Finches can feed on a range of fruits easily if they get access to them. When out in the wild, these birds eat cherries, oranges, grapes, bananas, mangoes, pumpkins, watermelons, peaches, papayas, beetroot, nectarines, and more. They’re not much concerned about searching for fruits, especially.

Besides fresh or organic fruits, finches like dried fruits, such as currants, raisins, and sultanas. To attract finches, you need to cut the fruits into small pieces, so the birds can eat them without much hassle.

peeled orange

Image Credit: pixel2013, Pixabay


4. Berries

Berries are the favorites of House Finches. They feed on various berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, hackberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries, serviceberries, and similar ones.

Like fruits, you need to cut berries into smaller pieces to allow finches to devour them. These birds love berries and will surely come to your home.


5. Greens

Yes, finches also eat greens. In fact, they love to consume leafy vegetables as they’re rich in several nutrients and equally delicious for these birds. Some greens include chickweed, water spinach, nasturtium, spinach, amaranth, mustard cress, and celery.

All these play a major role in balancing the birds’ health. In addition, they’re high in nutrients like magnesium, selenium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, carbs, and several types of vitamins.

If you have House Finches at home, feed them with necessary greens in small quantities.

celery plant

Image Credit: erichh, Pixabay


6. Veggies

Since finches like greens, they can also consume many vegetables if available. These birds choose veggies appropriate for their digestive systems, such as bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, yellow corn cobs, green beans, peas, and sweet potatoes.

These vegetables are a great source of nutrients for finches. They have magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, sodium, carbs, and vitamins. The serving rule remains the same here; chop the vegetables in small quantities and put them in the feeder.


7. Insects

House Finches eat insects in rare cases. The birds that live in suburbs and cities are primarily adaptable for eating insects, such as Lady Gouldian, Owl Finches, and Waxbill Finches. These finches search for insects out in the wild and consume them as their daily diet.

Some House Finches prefer eating insects during the breeding season. The common insects finches love are ants, termites, silkworms, beetles, wasps, mealworms, and caterpillars.

mealworm pile

Image Credit: Joshua A Houck, Shutterstock


8. Home-Based Meals

House Finches can feed on nutritious human foods too. These could be the usual meals that you eat for breakfast or dinner, such as cooked meat, cheese, fish, or eggs. Finches also love suet, so you can use it to attract these birds to your yard.

Many bird lovers offer breadcrumbs to finches. These home-based meals keep the bird’s health optimal but make sure you’re not reducing their actual diet, seeds, and grains.


9. Pellets

Pellets work for almost all types of animals and birds. They can be customized as per your choice and the bird’s requirements. You can make them in various ways, providing just the right amount of nutrition to House Finches.

To make the most out of pellets, you must never mix them with seeds. That’s because House Finches love seeds and may only pick them out and leave the pellets unattended. So, offer them pellets separately.

house finches eating on a birdfeeder

Image Credit: Chiyacat, Shutterstock


10. Water

Like every bird breed, House Finches need a sufficient amount of fresh water supply to live. This is primarily for summer, but you should also offer them water in winter. That’s an excellent way to attract finches to your yard.

A birdbath provides these birds with a sufficient water supply throughout the year. So, installing them is the best thing you can do.

 

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How Much Do House Finches Eat?

House Finches can consume food measuring around half of their body weight daily. These birds usually weigh from 0.67–0.078 ounces. So, this means House Finches can eat 0.34–0.39 ounces of food every day.

House Finch on the rim of a bird bath

Image Credit: Tony Quinn, Shutterstock

What Do Young House Finches Eat?

House Finches don’t have strong beaks when they are babies. This means they neither can open seeds nor eat them correctly. So, adult House Finches mash the food before giving it to their young ones. These include mashed vegetables and seeds, such as sunflower, thistle, dandelion, and weed seeds. Young House Finches don’t eat insects.

If you have a baby House Finch at home, you can mash the seeds with water and feed the mixture to the bird. Then, when the finch becomes stronger or grows older, you can move on to feeding them mashed insects, like their actual parents.

How to Attract House Finches the Right Way

The best way to attract House Finches through food is by leaving the food in the feeder instead of feeding them by hand. So, install bird feeders and birdbaths in your yard to attract House Finches, particularly large ones. These tools provide the birds with sufficient space to perch.

You can also lure House Finches with sugar water and plant their favorite shrubs, such as red mulberry and thistle shrubs.

Lastly, always keep the bird baths full of fresh and clean water. This may encourage the House Finches to come to your home to cool off.

Conclusion

House Finches are widespread birds in the United States. These birds are not too picky about their diet and usually eat what other birds consume. The most-favorite food items of House Finches include seeds, grains, vegetables, fruits, berries, and pellets. These foods are full of nutrients and essential vitamins. Birds who are accustomed to living in the wild also consume insects. However, this is mainly for adult birds.

House Finches usually eat 0.34–0.39 ounces of food every day. So, if you want to attract these beautiful birds to your yard, you can use the above-listed nutritious foods as bait.


Featured Image Credit: Leena Azzam, Shutterstock

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.

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