I’m so glad I could help you! And you are absolutely right – no matter how long we have kept birds, there is still more to learn because there are always new discoveries being made.
I have posted your reply here so that other bird owners can learn from it. This is a very common problem with many captive bird species, not just finches. It is a common belief that birds need something to sleep in. Finches are almost always sold with a nest. There are a variety of nests, bird huts and bird tents that are sold for pet birds of all sizes. But we have learned that the answers to all bird behavior and breeding issues are found by knowing what their wild behavior and habits are. Nests are only used by wild birds for breeding, and then the nest is abandoned. For pet birds, nests are a hormone trigger which can result in chronic egg laying, territorial aggression and anti-social behavior towards people.
Your finch colony will adjust to not having nests. It will actually take a lot of pressure off of them as it should reduce territorial behavior. Finches do enjoy many of the smaller colorful plastic bird toys, especially things with beads and bells, and they love swings. Even a plastic ladder hung from the top of the aviary can provide a fun, swinging perch that multiple birds can share. If you notice any bird spending time sitting in a food dish or a corner of the cage, move the dish or put something in the corner to block access so that the bird doesn’t try to establish a nesting area. This is going to happen at times, but they are easily discouraged by moving things around because it tells them it is not a stable and safe place to nest. In the long run, your birds will have a better and more relaxed life and you will be able to enjoy watching their interactions without having to worry about losing chicks.
Thanks for the update & kind words!