Tag Archives: goldfinch

In which I inflict a grainy photo of a goldfinch on you

A Goldfinch amid the sunflowers

The sunflower patch is getting so ratty looking, I’m considering cutting them all down. But just when I begin to contemplate such drastic action, I come round the corner of the house and get rewarded by the up and down swoops of a goldfinch flying away. I can’t cut the sunflowers down yet! There are sunflower seeds for goldfinches to eat.

She even came back to eat some more. See? I know it’s a “she” because female goldfinches have the same patterns on their wings as males, but where the boys are golden, the girls are dusky brown.  Actually, by now, the male goldfinches aren’t golden, but more of a greenish lemon color. And they both like sunflowers.

When the goldfinches show up, you know you’re dong something right

Goldfinch intent on eating coneflower seeds

It’s so amazing when these bright bits of canary yellow come swooping into the yard. That’s how you know that the coneflower seeds are ripe. Sunflower seeds are good, too, but only straight from the flowerhead. Goldfinches are so exacting about what they eat, but when they find something they like, they seem to really enjoy it. This one totally ignored me stalking around it, trying to get a clear view for a picture, until I finally came to my senses and just sat down and watched it eat.

Sunflower buffet

Want to eat from the sunflower? Take a number!

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Pretty, pretty sunflowers

The sunflowers are so pretty right now. Some of them are dressing up in russety orange. Honeybees come and meticulously work their way around the rings, getting every bit of pollen and nectar from the flowers. And when the sunflowers go to seed, forget how ratty they look. Goldfinches will arrive and it’s pretty all over again.

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Goldfinches in the morning

Goldfinch eating breakfast

Goldfinch eating breakfast

Mourning dove playing at cat bait

Mourning dove playing cat bait

In the last few weeks, the coneflowers have started going to seed, and looking all raggedy. Part of that is just the flowers fading to grey-pink. Part of that is the goldfinches stopping by in the mornings,  wearing such a bright yellow it wakes you up just to look at them, to pick the freshest seeds. Evidently, there isn’t quite enough mature seed yet, as they then swoop over to the nyjer feeder and fill in the corners of their hunger. Yesterday, I finally got this picture before he flew off.

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The goldfinch in winter

Goldfinch in winter plumage

Goldfinch in winter plumage

Well, well, well. There is indeed a goldfinch visiting my hacked feeder. He was a little hard to spot, first because he’s wearing winter clothes, but mostly because he’s only showing up in the morning. Nice to see you, little guy!

Feeder Hack

Feeder full of nyger seed?

Is this feeder full of nyjer seed?

I’ve had mixed luck feeding goldfinches with fresh nyjer seed. The main problem is the feeder holds far more seed than the birds will eat. I think I finally have a solution.

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Birds on a rainy day

One goldfinch

One hungry goldfinch

Two hungry goldfinches

Two hungry goldfinches

It’s still raining, but that’s not slowing down these goldfinches. One stuck to the nyjer feeder, while others foraged on the coneflower seed heads.

Everyone is wearing their winter plumage, so I guess I won’t be seeing any wild canary-yellow birds zooming by until next summer. Still, with that buff background, the white borders on their dark wing feathers look even more beautiful.

And now they’re starting to flock.
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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.

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The sunflower is dead, long live the sunflower

Goldfinch feeding on sunflower

Goldfinch feeding on sunflower

Already that huge sunflower has gone from a feast for bees to a feast for goldfinches.

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