Over the last three or four years we have noticed more and more goldfinches visiting our garden. They tended to arrive in little family groups usually three or four at a time and feed only from the nyger seed feeder we'd provided for them. However, over the last few days that all seems to have changed. They now feed on the sunflower hearts as well and yesterday we counted a least a dozen gathered at the two feeding stations we have around the garden, taking turns to land on the perches and feed at the containers.
They are such colourful little birds with their red faces and yellow striped wings. I love the way they hang onto the perches with great determination whilst every so often looking around them to check for any danger.
They have definitely got more daring in their pursuit of food as they spend ages on the feeders just outside our conservatory window as well as on the main feeders. They seem to have cornered this little area of the garden for themselves as the only other visitors so close to the house are the coal tits and the robins. When they eat the sunflower hearts they lose quite a few of them as their little pointed beaks are more suited to thistle and teasel seed but they seem to have adapted to manage sunflower hearts too.
The blackbirds tend to wait underneath the feeders to catch what the little birds throw down or can't quite manage but this little goldfinch seems to have cottoned on to that food supply too!
At this time of year I tend to top up the feeders twice a day as we have quite a lot of sparrows feeding in our garden too mainly, we think, because they have the safety of hedges on two sides of the garden which protect them from the sparrowhawk which occasionally flies over. It is such a pleasure to watch all the birds that visit our garden even the raucous starlings who swoop down in gangs and devour everything in sight.
The weekend after next 26th and 27th January is the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch and I've registered on line to participate as I have done for several years now. Here is a link to the RSPB's website if you want to join in. Yesterday as we sat drinking mugs of morning coffee in the conservatory we saw about twelve goldfinches, fifteen sparrow, eight blackbirds, a song thrush, a chaffinch, a robin, a couple of coal tits, a dunnock and several wood pigeon - I'm guessing they will all be hiding when we come to do our hour's recording!