Thursday, January 17, 2013

Goldfinches

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!

30 comments:

  1. The only regular visitor to my garden at the moment is a very large wood pigeon. Its larger than Tom! You've clearly had plenty of snow already. Jx

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    1. Yes, the snow came on Monday and has lingered; I've just looked outside and we've had another covering!:)

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  2. I've often thought about participating in the birdwatch, perhaps this year I should.

    I rarely see goldfinches, which is a shame. But like you we have the blackbirds waiting for the bits that fall. And Ptolemy the pheasant of course!

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    1. It is quite interesting to do! Glad you still have visits from Ptolemy:)

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  3. I do the bird watch every year and it makes for interesting reading when the results come out. The belief in our house is the birds eat best in our house followed by Lucy and at the bottom come the humans! I have just stocked up on bird food and come home £50 lighter! Xxx

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    1. Lyn, I was thinking today that we must spend more on the birds than the cats at the moment - the stocks are going down very rapidly. One tub of suet pellets cost us nearly as much as a week's food for us:)

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  4. I am in the RSPB and try every year to join in the Birdwatch but that seems to be the day the birds go somewhere else!We get lots of tits,all kinds,sparrows,blackbirds,robins and in the winter blackcaps(the first one two days ago),bullfinches ,siskins and the occasional gold finch.It's great watching them,isn't it.

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    1. It always happens doesn't it? It is great fun though - you have some interesting birds visit your garden:)

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  5. I remember watching a crowd of them demolishing a patch of thistles, many years ago. They're amazing little birds.

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    1. That must have been a wonderful sight! I think they are delightful little birds:)

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  6. Your garden must be like paradise for the birds Rosie! I suppose they need to fill up on all the food they can get in case it is a hard winter. x

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    1. They do seem to like it, Simone! They need all the food they can get to survive each night in these temperatures:)

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  7. Oh there is nothing like spending time watching the birds. We love doing that too. We feed them year round. They depend on us during this weather.

    How fun to have goldfinches. We never get them here in our garden. We get chaffinches and in March the bullfinches. I love your feeder.

    Hugs from Holland ~
    Heidi

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    1. The new feeder does deter the squirrels and pigeons more than the last one we had so the smaller birds get more of a chance at the food:)

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  8. What a great avian cafe you've got going there, who needs tv?

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    1. Indeed! I love keeping the cafe open:)

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  9. I love watching the birds and seeing the great variety we get. We've always had goldfinches in the garden though they don't seem to be here all the time, they seem to come and go so we go a while without seeing any and then they're here for a couple of weeks. This year I've noticed a lot of long tailed tits - they're at school, in our garden and my friend in Rudyard has loads... I've never seen one until this year so I don't know if they've just started coming to feeders or if they've just 'moved in' to this area - or perhaps they've been here for years and I've just never seen one before!

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    1. There is a little group of long tailed tits visit the garden occasionally and we've seen them at Trentham; like the goldfinches, there does seem to be more of them around this year:)

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  10. How wonderful! I would be entranced watching all day. I feel sorry for the poor birds in this wintery weather - those tiny little birds against the ferocity of nature. Lovely photos.
    June

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    1. We've been putting out extra food for all the birds over the last few days and they certainly need it to get through this winter weather:)

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  11. They are such a pretty little bird.

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    1. Aren't they? I love to see them:)

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  12. how beautiful! we are fostering Goldfinch too! their colours are to die for... .. love your photos. It is always wonderful visiting you. Love Darcy, Bingley and Helen xxx

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    1. Thank you, I love to have you visit! The goldfinch are still visting every day:)

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  13. fab photos.......quite wonderful!!

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    1. Thanks! glad you enjoyed them:)

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  14. Good for you Rosie, and the best of luck - but I'm not convinced this bird-watching thingie is a good idea in January when we are knee deep in snow! :(
    Most of the year, my garden is a haven for birds.
    I have blogged about all sorts from Red legged partridges to Red Kites - but on the allocated Sunday last year - there was a terrible wind blowing and all I saw all day was a brave blackbird who ventured out about 4 o'clock.
    Now, yesterday there were seven Red Kites circling around. Today none! In June I have Green woodpeckers on the lawn looking for ants, I have pheasants, and all sorts of unusual birds - but on the chosen RSPB date - nothing!
    Just a Blackbird! This gives the wrong information. I too have Goldfinches - they love the seed heads which I leave on all my old flowers.
    Cheers...Bernard

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    1. Hello Bernard, glad you found me over here as I don't update Family Matters very often. You sound as if you have some wonderful varieties of birds in and around your garden. We had a reed bunting in the garden on Saturday - very much out of his territory seeking food. I guess next weekend there will be a few blackbirds and a few sparrows if we are lucky:)

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  15. Oh what a lovely sight! I miss having birds in our garden. In our last home, we had dozens visting every day, but we took the feeders down here because all that we were attracting were grackles (a bit like starlings - very noisy and not very welcome). We used to have all kinds of birds and they all loved sunflower hearts.

    Marie x

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    1. Love the name grackles - the starlings are noisy and grab everything when they come down to feed. I think all the birds love the sunflower hearts:)

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