The Finch Feeding Preferences
Finches are vegetarians but they are not really consistent with their food preferences. Being small birds, they feed mostly on seeds and buds. The black-oil sunflower seed is the favorite choice of most seed-eating birds. Experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have actually endorsed the sunflower seed as the top choice for most wild birds.
There is a high probability that sunflower seeds are the first to vanish in most feeding stations. If you are observant enough, the finches will usually push aside the other seeds in search of the sunflower seed. The black-oil sunflower is superior to other bird food because of its high meat and protein content. The seed with a soft outer shell is easy to eat for smaller birds such as the gold finches, chickadees, pine siskins and titmice.
Finches are frequent visitors to many backyard feeding stations. The house finch, in particular, prefers plant food although they will eat a few insects and feed them to their young during spring time. Their natural diet, however, consists of weed seeds and some fruits. They are said to extract seed from winter berries on a regular basis.
Finches in the eastern range have been reported to feed on birdseed. Their other favorites are the sunflower, thistle, white proso millet and canary seeds. They are also attracted to suet and nectar feeders including those that have fruits and bread crumbs. Purple finches eat sunflower, safflower, niger or thistle, corn and suet. They may also feed on a mix of small seeds and live invertebrate food
A study has shown that the house finch was the only species that have varying food preferences. Data from California and Maryland suggested that California house finches were less discriminating when it comes to food than those in Maryland. The study found that finches in California feed on canary seed, peanut hearts, 4milo and flax.
In the end, the researchers concluded that the oil-type sunflower seed should be used in most feeding programs. They added that the oil-type sunflower seed is more attractive to most species and is less expensive. The black-striped sunflower, also a great bird food, is another alternative. The study recommends that people who love bird watching and breeding should feed their birds with black-oil sunflower seed.
Finches bred in captivity can be taught to eat other foods aside from the seeds. You may feed them with a tiny amount of white or brown rice which are also small. Just be patient in offering them new food. Once they show a likeness for it, try adding fruits and vegetables like corn, peas, green beans, strawberry, grape and melon.
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