Attract Bullfinches to Your Garden with Finch Bird Seed and Suet
One of the most colourful potential visitors to your garden, the male Bullfinch boasts a beautiful pinkish-red breast and cheeks. However, this stunning bird is secretive and spends most of its time concealed in the branches and undergrowth of woodland.
How to Spot Them
You really cannot mistake the male bullfinch with his fabulous breast. The female is more subdued in colour. Both sexes have black wings and a black bill, nape, crown and chin. Their rumps are white and their tails are slightly forked.
In the winter months, our native population of bullfinches may be joined by "northern" Bullfinches from Scandinavia. These are larger birds which are much more extrovert than our own Bullfinches. The males boast an even more intense pink breast and very pale grey upperparts.
The Bullfinch's song matches its shy personality and is a quiet warble. Its song can sound rather mournful at times and is difficult to hear if there is background noise
Bullfinches feed naturally on insects, berries, seeds, and buds. It has been their love of buds which have made them less than popular with many flower gardeners and fruit growers. Bullfinches will feed on from a in your garden and also enjoy suet fat balls.
This species usually nest in bushes and shrubs in a woodland setting or close to farmland. Their nests are quite flimsy structures constructed from twigs and moss and then lined with roots and hair. The nest is built by the female. She will then lay between four and seven eggs which are light blue in colour with purple markings at one end. The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days but both parents feed the young when they have hatched.
There was a time when the Bullfinch was red listed as the breeding population had declined by more than 50%. This was due to a reduction in the woodland margins and hedgerows. Grazing by deer also impacted bullfinch populations in some areas. Their numbers have now recovered and so they have been moved to the amber list.
In Your Garden
Bullfinches remain a relatively rare sight in British gardens but you could be lucky enough to attract these birds to your property. You should provide good quality finch bird seed and supplement this in winter with suet balls. It helps if your garden features the dense cover that these birds prefer and if you have woodland nearby.
Bullfinches rarely nest in gardens as few provide the dense cover that they seek. However, bullfinches will travel long distances to find food for their young so they could find themselves in your garden. They may be particularly attracted to flowering fruit trees in the spring. They have developed food sacs in the floors of their mouths in order to carry food and are the only members of the finch family to have these sacs.
Bullfinches are a magnificent site. By providing finch bird seed, suet and exercising patience, you might be lucky enough to see these most colourful of birds visiting your garden.