Seeds are the primary food source for many small birds. Finches, in particular, have a very strong liking for them due to their availability and taste. Some breeds of finches also enjoy eating the petals and leaves of flowers.
But since all flower seeds aren’t particularly safe to eat, can finches eat dandelions? The short answer to that would be, yes, as long as the flowers are free from chemicals and are freshly picked, finches can eat them. In fact, dandelion seeds are one of their favorite foods.
However, there are some particular concerns as to which parts of the dandelion are safe for finches to eat and also about feeding flower seeds in general. Keep reading to find out more about how to pick dandelions for your finches and what flower seeds you can feed them.
Diet of a Finch
To understand why feeding dandelions to a finch would be a good idea, you need to know about the average diet of a wild finch. This will also help you to figure out which flowers and flower seeds are safe to feed.
As stated before, seeds are the primary source of food for most breeds of finches. Since seeds can be easily picked and can be extracted from a variety of fruits and flowers, these are the perfect choice for a finch.
Finch feeds are mostly fruit seeds. These would include apple seeds, berry seeds, and other small-seeded fruits. Since the outer shell of these fruits is easy to break through, the seeds can be easily accessed.
However, extracting seeds from a flower isn’t as easy. Some flowers have seeds planted deep inside their ovaries. But for flowers like dandelions and sunflowers, the seeds grow externally, so finches can easily take them apart. Due to the rarity of these flower seeds, they have become one of the most popular foods for finches.
Berries and Fruits
Unlike many other birds, finches eat a variety of fruits and berries. This is likely as they have to go through the fruits and berries first to get to the seeds.
For example, when a finch tries to extract apple seeds, it has to dig a hole into the apple to get there. And so, the birds end up eating their way through the fruit. This means the bird is more likely to eat those fruits of which they eat the seeds.
Different Dandelion Parts
If we are talking about whether a finch can eat a dandelion or not, we have to consider all the edible parts of a dandelion. These would include their seeds, petals, and leaves.
The seeds of dandelions are very easy to take apart for finches. Since the petals of the flowers are so fragile that they get blown away by the wind, the finches can comfortably take them apart and reach the seeds.
Due to this ease of accessibility, dandelion seeds are popular with finches. A single flower contains hundreds of small seeds, which are easy for them to swallow as well.
Unlike sunflower petals, dandelion petals are very thin and stringy. This makes it hard for the finch to swallow them.
Although some finches have been seen to eat the petals, it is mostly not recommended.
Under prime conditions, the leaves of dandelion flowers are edible. However, not all finches are fond of leaves, so your one might not find it particularly appetizing. There are a lot more factors to consider while feeding leaves to a finch, which we will talk about later in the article.
How to Pick Dandelions to Feed a Finch
As we’ve mentioned before, it’s especially important to know which dandelions to feed a finch. These variations come from where you pick them, the health of the flowers and leaves, whether or not pesticides have been used, etc.
Where you pick up dandelions is a very obvious indicator of whether or not they are safe to feed. The best place to pick dandelions is from a dandelion field or someplace where dandelions are cultivated.
These places will generally have healthy and high-quality flowers with very low risks of pesticides and other chemicals being used. Some common places to avoid picking up dandelions would be from the side of a street or near any sort of factory.
Dandelions that grow near the streets are generally not healthy and can be very dirty. On the other hand, chemicals released from a factory could make the dandelions poisonous for a finch to eat.
The Condition of the Leaves
Dandelions’ leaves are a good indicator of a dandelion’s overall health. If the leaves aren’t inherently green or if they have some yellow tints, it’s best to avoid them.
If the leaves have been crooked up or discolored, it means the flower is most likely dying out. You wouldn’t want to pick those as well. For your finches, pick the ones with bright green leaves that are also quite long.
A general rule of thumb, in this case, is to avoid flowers with discolored petals. This means that if a white dandelion has some yellow petals, it’s probably because of some disease or chemical use.
Other than that, you should be able to easily spot healthy edible flowers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which parts of dandelions do finches eat?
Finches mostly love to feed on dandelion seeds and leaves. Some birds eat the petals as well. So, you can pick out a few dandelion flowers and feed them to your finch.
Can I treat my finches with dandelion seeds?
Flower seeds are normally filled with sweetness. Due to their nature, finches love dandelion seeds more than other foods. So, yes, technically you can use dandelion seeds as treats. However, if you feed them too much of it, they might not be as fond of it anymore.
Are dandelions healthy for finches?
Birdseeds, in general, do not contain all the necessary nutrients a bird needs in order to stay healthy. However, they taste really good and have no harmful side effects, so they are technically safe.
But only feeding them seeds will result in malnutrition inside them. So, it’s better to look for variety.
Can finches eat dandelion flowers?
They can eat the flowers (the petals), but most of them don’t. The petals are stringy and not enjoyable to eat. But some birds are seen eating the flowers.
How many dandelion seeds should I feed my finch?
Dandelion seeds are very small and are stacked in large numbers. An average finch can eat about 2000 dandelion seeds a day. But, it’s not a good idea to feed them dandelion seeds so often. So, serve it in small portions.
With all that said, can finches eat dandelions? Yes, if you can properly choose the dandelions, it is safe for finches to eat them. Just don’t overfeed them with dandelion seeds, or else they might lose interest in them. We hope we’ve been helpful.
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