How to Attract Bullfinches in Your Backyard?

If you live in the UK or other parts of Europe and temperate Asia, bullfinches are just one of the small orange birds you can spot in woodlands or, if you’re really lucky, in your backyard.

As shy birds that prefer to stay hidden, it can be difficult to attract them to your garden. But not impossible. Especially if you live near areas where bullfinches like to build their nests.

If you’re eager to have bullfinches visit your property, especially when near to their natural habitat, there are a few tricks that I’ll discuss so you can maximize the chances of bullfinches visiting your garden.

What Food Attract Bullfinches?

First, let’s discuss the food preferences of bullfinches and how you can use that information to make your garden more appealing to bullfinches.

The diet of bullfinches consists primarily of fresh buds and shoots as well as berries and seeds of various shrubs.

In spring, bullfinches will devour fresh buds of fruit trees including apple trees, plums, pear, cherries, and others. Having fruit trees in your backyard will definitely be appealing to bullfinches.

While bullfinches can cause damage in your fruit trees, you can still expect your fruit trees to produce enough fruit even if bullfinches will eat half of the buds on your trees.

If fruit trees are not something that you might desire in your backyard, there are other options too: planting berry shrubs and hedging, or planting plants that produce seed heads in winter are all excellent ways to get more bullfinches to visit your garden.

During the breeding season, bullfinches will hunt for insects to feed their young. While adult bullfinches don’t seek out insects for themselves, they’ll invariably end up eating some while picking them off of trees or catching them mid-flight.

In summer and fall, ripened berries are another favorite source of food. Planting berry shrubs in your garden, especially ones that grow tall, is another way to maximize your chances of spotting bullfinches in your backyard.

What Shrubs Attract Bullfinches?

As I mentioned, planting shrubbery and hedging are excellent for attracting bullfinches and providing them a habitat that might even determine them to build their nests in your backyard.

Because bullfinches enjoy fleshy, seedy fruit, plant raspberry, blackberry, guelder rose, Hawthorn, rowan, haws, privet, and other native shrubs to attract these birds to your garden.

Other excellent shrubs that will attract bullfinches include honeysuckle, pyracantha, cherry laurel, beech, and even fuchsia bushes.

While berry-producing shrubs are great because they offer food and shelter to bullfinches, decorative hedgerows are also useful because they can become a habitat for insects, allowing bullfinches to hunt for insects to feed their young.

Because bullfinches prefer to build their nests in tall shrubs, the taller your shrubs the higher the chances of bullfinches choosing them as a nesting site.

Do Bullfinches Use Birdbaths?

A birdbath is not something that a bullfinch might regularly visit, especially if it’s placed in an open area, which might not be deemed as secluded enough by a bullfinch.

Bullfinches will usually drink water droplets from the leaves of trees or seek out springs or pools of water hidden by thick bushes.

To make bullfinches feel safer using a birdbath, it’s important to choose a location that’s not too out there in the open. Preferably, place the birdbath close to a dense hedge or bush.

Bullfinches may feel intimidated to use a bird bath placed in an open area. They will also stay away from fast-running water.

Likewise, keeping the birdbath clean and providing fresh water are both essential. Bullfinches will not use the birdbath to drink or bathe if the water is not clean.

If the birdbath is visited often by many other birds, bullfinches will stay clear of it. Bullfinches will visit the birdbath only if no other birds are around.

Do Bullfinches Use Nest Boxes?

Bullfinches rarely use nest boxes, so I would not encourage you to spend your time setting up nest boxes.

Instead, you should focus more on planting hedges, shrubs, and weeds that provide food and optimal nesting sites to bullfinches.

If you have an expansive garden, planted heavily with mixed hedging, trees and shrubs, bullfinches will have plenty of options to choose a nesting site.

The nesting site is chosen by the male bullfinch, while the female bullfinch builds the nests and incubates the eggs. Both adults take turns in feeding their young.

Bullfinches built their nests around 13 feet above the ground. The nest is made of twigs, fine roots and moss.

The female bullfinch lays 4-7 pale blue eggs with brown mottling. Bullfinches form lasting bonds and raise two, sometimes three broods per season.

What Bird Feeders Are Best for Bullfinches?

Bullfinches visit bird feeders with the same reluctance as they visit birdbaths. If there are a lot of birds visiting those bird feeders, bullfinches will usually wait for other birds to leave.

Sometimes, regardless of what you’re putting in your bird feeders, bullfinches will not come. Whether you’re using a finch feeder, a feeding table or some other feeding station or feeder, it doesn’t seem to matter much for bullfinches.

That said, there are a couple of things you can try regardless of the type of bird feeder you’re using:

  • Use the same principle of positioning the bird feeder as you would for the birdbath
  • Place sunflower seeds and hearts, which bullfinches seem to thoroughly enjoy
  • Suet is another food that bullfinches seem to enjoy, whether in a ball, block, or pellet form
  • Make your own seed mixes and add berries too.

If available, bullfinches will always choose natural food over what you’re placing in your bird feeders. So, don’t get discouraged if bullfinches don’t come to your feeders. Focus more on having shrubs, seed-producing weeds, and trees in your garden.


Bullfinches are shy by nature, so you’ll have to excuse them if they’re not keen on spending their time in your backyard.

That said, a large backyard that’s heavily planted with the plants that bullfinches find valuable either as a food source or as a nesting site.

Hopefully the tips I shared in this article will determine more bullfinches to visit your garden and even build their nests there.

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