Goldfinches

Goldfinch on coneflower seedhead
Goldfinch on coneflower seedhead
Goldfinch on nyjer feeder
Goldfinch on nyjer feeder

The coneflowers are now way past bee fodder. The seed heads are ripe, which means now the coneflowers are feeding goldfinches.

So long as the regular feeders are full of black oil sunflower, it’s easy to keep the cats entertained with flocks of sparrows and house finches. (And yes, I’m afraid that is how they also become cat feeders.) My favorites, though, are the bold chickadees and the brightly colored native birds. I think we’ve had the same breeding pair of cardinals for a few years, and maybe the same blue jays, too.  But it always feels like an accomplishment to get goldfinches. They’re so good at playing hard to get.

For one thing, they’re really particular about their seed.  It has to be fresh. That’s why they were raiding the sunflowers. If they deign to come to a feeder, it has to be nyger seed. But it can take weeks for them to notice a feeder, so by the time they check it out, the seed isn’t fresh any more. So it can hang there, just getting staler, while you think you’re waiting for them to find it. So if you’re hanging an unvisited feeder, there’s not much point in putting much seed in it, until the goldfinches find it. Once they do, it’s amazing how fast the level of seed will drop.

So far, I’ve had the best luck with this mesh feeder. There’s drainage through the bottom, so the seed stays dry longer. It’s small, so when I have to dump out stale seed, I’m not losing much. It comes apart completely for cleaning. And when it’s clean and fresh and meets their approval, you get to watch two or three goldfinches clinging to the sides, chowing away.