Greenfinches (Chloris chloris) are one of the most colourful characters in our gardens, and below we're looking at what these finches eat. We're going to explore what greenfinches eat in the wild and the seeds to use in your feeders to attract them into your garden.
Greenfinches rely heavily on seeds. Seeds make up much of their diet, and they have a preference for seeds found in fleshy fruit. They will often ignore the fruit entirely and happily eat the seeds.
As we'll see through this greenfinch article, they have plenty of wild seeds that they love to consume throughout the year but do rely on bird feeders for some of their food too.
Greenfinches love to eat rosehip seeds and will often ignore the fruit altogether. They use their long bills to barrow into the fruit and extract the seeds. Throughout the autumn, hawthorn and yew seeds make a good portion of their diet, and in the winter, they rely on brambles. During the year, greenfinches will also eat certain insects, though.
A perched greenfinch eating the seeds of a chaste tree
Greenfinches will explore trees and bushes for any seeds that are available. This is often why you see greenfinches zipping and whipping their way around your garden, and in hedgerows, they are on the hunt for some lovely seeds.
Once they find the seeds they are looking for, they will consume as much as they can. As the seasons change and the seeds become more difficult to find, greenfinches may rely a bit more on bird feeders in gardens, but they will eat yew, hawthorn and bramble seeds in the colder months to survive.
Greenfinches feed throughout the day because they need to eat a lot of seeds. They burn a lot of energy flying around looking for food and need to eat a lot to keep their energy levels up. So, greenfinches are highly active looking for seeds from dawn til dusk, really.
Greenfinch eating sunflower seeds
As the colder months start drawing in, greenfinches may begin to rely more on bird feeders and non-natural food sources. However, cunning greenfinches can still find food in the winter. These birds will typically eat bramble seeds in the winter. They may also eat yew and hawthorn seeds if they are still available. However, these are usually autumn meals for the greenfinch.
A European Greenfinch eating frozen rosehip seeds in snowfall
During the spring and summer, greenfinches have a very varied diet. They do mainly consume seeds; rosehip seeds are a particular favourite during the summer. However, they will also eat berries, fruit and insects.
While greenfinches love seeds from fruits, and while often skip the fruit altogether and head straight for the seeds, they will also feed on grass seeds during the summer.
The reason that a greenfinch's diet is so varied during the spring and summer is that they are raising their young, and there is an abundance of food available.
They will often feed their chicks insects, so they grow quickly, and the parents are more than happy to eat the insects as well. They will also eat fruit and berries throughout the summer to keep their energy levels high as they raise their young.
Greenfinch eating a suet cake
Baby greenfinches are fed insects by their parents. This allows the chicks to grow very quickly. Seeds are a good energy source for the adults, but the chicks must grow and leave the nest in under a month. So, in order to ensure the chicks are ready, they are fed on any insects the parents can find. Once they leave the nest, the chicks will very quickly adopt the adult's diet of seeds, fruits and berries.
Greenfinch feeding their chick
Greenfinches are not very picky eaters. Along as you have a good mix of seeds in your feeder, they will come and explore it. There are certain finch seed mixes available that have loads of small seed varieties, which are great, and greenfinches are very partial to a niger seed or two, so make sure your feeders are packed full of these.
The best thing about greenfinches is that they have very simple tastes when it comes to seeds. So, if you want to attract greenfinches into your garden, any seed mix will do. Niger seeds are beloved by all finches, though, so the more you have, the more likely you are to attract lots of different finches into your garden.
Greenfinch eating nyjer seed from a bird feeder
In the wild, greenfinches eat just about any seed they can get their wings on. They will eat grass seeds; they love rosehip seeds and will often skip the fruit altogether. They will eat hawthorn and yew seeds and rely on bramble seeds in the winter.
At the bird feeder, greenfinches will eat nearly any seed you can put out. Like most finches, they love niger seeds but will happily enjoy any seed mix you fill your feeders with. If you are trying to attract greenfinches into your garden, there are speciality finch seed mixes that you can buy which does increase your chances.
Greenfinches don't need to drink too much, but they may wet their beak with some water from time to time. It is always worth having a birdbath in your garden to watch them play in the water, and you may see them take a drink on occasion.
Greenfinch drinking water
Greenfinches have a real passion for niger seeds, so any bird feeders with these seeds in are sure to attract these finches and many others.
One of the best things about greenfinches is that they are not fussy in the slightest. If you have greenfinches in your area, a standard bird feeder with a standard seed mix is usually all you need. However, you can buy finch seed mixes which can help draw shy greenfinches into your garden.
Just ensure your feeders are close to cover, a dense shrub or hedge, for example, and greenfinches are sure to come and have a look at the food on offer.
Greenfinch flock feeding together on bird seeds at a feeder
Most finches love niger seeds, and greenfinches are no exception to this. If you're struggling to get greenfinches into your garden, niger seeds are a powerful secret weapon.
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