Bullfinch in Winter

A well-maintained garden is not only a beautiful sight, but it can also be a haven for wildlife. Birds in particular are drawn to gardens, where they can find food and shelter from the elements.

Bullfinches are one of the most beautiful and sought-after birds in the UK, with their striking black and white plumage and distinctive red breast.

If you’re lucky enough to spot a bullfinch in your garden, it’s sure to be a highlight of your day. If you are hoping to attract bullfinches to your property, there are a few things you can do to make your yard more inviting.

What is a Bullfinch?

Bullfinches are medium-sized birds, with stocky bodies, rounded heads, and short tails. The males are colourful in the springtime with reddish-brown upper parts and a black mask, while the females are mainly grey.

They eat mainly seeds and berries, but sometimes insects. Bullfinches are sometimes kept as cage birds because of their attractive appearance.

How To Attract Bullfinches?

If you want to attract bullfinches, here are a few of the things you can do to make your garden more appealing to these lovely birds.

1. Choose the Right Plants

If you want to attract bullfinches to your garden, the best way is to have the right plants around that will provide them with food.

These beautiful birds are easily attracted to fruiting plants so, planting the right shrubs and hedgerows can be a great way to attract bullfinches into your garden.

The below plants produce berries that are an important food source for bullfinches, and they also provide shelter for the birds.

  • Berberis
  • Blackthorn
  • Cotoneaster
  • Pyracantha
  • Honeysuckle
  • Guelder
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
  • Juniper

I also read an article a few years ago that you can encourage bullfinches to visit your garden in winter by leaving out some dock seeds.

These little birds are attracted to the small, black seeds of the common dock plant, and they will often strip a plant of its seeds in a single day.

By planting shrubs and hedgerows, you can create a welcoming environment for these and other beautiful creatures. So why not give it a try? Your garden will be all the richer for it.

2. Include a Water Feature

Bullfinches are attracted to the sound of running water, and they love to bathe and drink from a clean pool.

A pond with a water feature or a good filtration system that never freezes can provide a valuable source of water for thirsty birds. In addition, a pond can also be a great place to take a break and catch a glimpse of some interesting wildlife.

Bullfinches are beautiful, colourful birds that can be quite hard to find, and they are particularly attracted to areas with lots of water. So, by providing a pond or water feature, you can create the perfect environment for these pretty birds to thrive. Not only will you enjoy their beauty, but you’ll also be helping them to survive.

If you want to bring some bullfinches into your garden, consider adding a pond and watching the show unfold.

3. Hang a Bird Feeder

This one may seem a little obvious and you may already have a bird feeder, however, do you have the right food out?

Bullfinches like to feed on seeds, and they particularly favour the seeds of ash, elm and common nettle plants.

If you want to give your garden that little extra appeal, try adding these seeds to your bird feeder (amazon link – opens in a new tab) or bird table and see what happens.


If you’re looking to attract bullfinches to your garden, there are a few things you can do. Planting fruiting shrubs and hedges is a great way to provide food for these birds and having running water in a pond or water feature will give them a place to bathe and drink.

You can also try a combination of both, which will give the bullfinches everything they need and make your garden even more inviting to them.

So why wait? Start attracting bullfinches today, and enjoy the show unfold!

Garden Doctor Trev

Garden Doctor Tips

“A small fountain or a waterfall may create enough sound to attract bullfinches!”

“Combine planting best practices with a water feature and you might just get lucky!”

“If you are using a bird feeder, make sure that you are adding the right food that the bullfinches will favour!”

“If you want to attract bullfinches, you probably want to do your best to deter cats and other predators from your garden too!”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do bullfinches eat buds?

Yes, bullfinches eat buds. In fact, they enjoy the buds from fruit trees and other types of plants. The buds provide a good source of food for the birds since they are high in carbohydrates and proteins. Additionally, the buds help to keep the birds healthy by providing them with essential vitamins and minerals.

What plants attract bullfinches?

Bullfinches are attracted to plants that have seeds with hard coats, like Pyracantha, Honeysuckle and Guelder roses are plants that attract bullfinches.

Bullfinches are attracted to these plants because they provide food in the form of seeds or fruits. They also enjoy eating the berries of mistletoe, holly, and juniper.

What fruit do bullfinches eat?

Bullfinches primarily eat seeds, but they will also eat insects and other invertebrates. Some of the most common fruit that bullfinches eat include cherries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

Are bullfinches rare in the UK?

Bullfinches were once quite common in the UK, but their recent numbers have declined in recent years.

This is largely due to a variety of factors, including habitat loss and changes in agricultural practices. Efforts are currently underway to help preserve bullfinch populations, including establishing special conservation areas and working with farmers to create more hospitable environments for these birds.

About Me

Hi, I’m Trev and I’ve been growing things since I can remember. When I was younger, I grew up on a farm, so I have always been around plants and animals. After studying horticulture at university, I decided to start my own nursery which I have run now for 25 years. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their gardens.

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