Gold

Goldfinches that is. I haven't seen them around for a while, but yesterday they showed up to entertain me in the front garden.


I'm not sure how many of them there were because they are active little birds and couldn't keep still, but around a dozen I'd say.

***


I mixed some nyjer seed with the safflower seed in the feeder...


...well, maybe "layered" is a better word than "mixed".

Was it this that attracted the finches?


Or is it just the availability of drinkable water?




They did spend more time on the barrel than on the feeder.

Although they were also happy to forage for seeds. Caryopteris (blue mist spirea) is a current favorite:


There are three goldfinches in here. Great camouflage!

It's frustrating that they don't seem to care for the feeder that is reserved for them alone...


...but I did see them using it during the summer and the seed level seems to be falling, so perhaps I just haven't looked when they're on it.


The winter plumage of these birds is not nearly as "golden" as in the summer, but they're still such pretty birds!




The thistle seed attracts other birds too:

Dark-eyed junco, wintertime ground feeders here

Female House Sparrow I believe. Pretty when seen up close!

A couple more goldfinch photos for comparison:


This one looks like a little chick! (Chicken baby)

I'm glad to see all of the little birds around! I wonder if the goldfinches will stay for a while?

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outlawgardener  – (December 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM)  

Such cute and pretty little birds! I hope they stay all winter for you!

Hoover Boo  – (December 12, 2014 at 2:23 PM)  

Sweet! And kudos to you for giving them a nurturing space.

Anonymous –   – (December 12, 2014 at 5:07 PM)  

I love goldfinches, and they love the rudbeckia seedheads - they pick them clean well before fall. I love how they are so spry that when they alight on the stem they barely register their weight.

Chickadee Gardens  – (December 12, 2014 at 5:22 PM)  

Love this, great post. Love watching the birds, we get many of the same ones and they are a blast to watch although you take much better pics of them than I ever can.

Lisa  – (December 12, 2014 at 10:57 PM)  

We plant sunflowers every year just for the goldfinches. I love their bright yellow color and their funny little habits. We have a few warm days coming - maybe our friends will stop by for a visit!

LostRoses  – (December 12, 2014 at 11:43 PM)  

For some reason the goldfinches and house finches turn up their noses (or beaks) at their special thistle feeder just for them. But they love the net "sock" feeders. Don't know why!

MulchMaid  – (December 13, 2014 at 9:22 AM)  

We don't see Goldfinches until winter here, but I love watching them when they come. We do have Juncos now, and I told myself not to do it, but I cut off the thrashed seedheads from my Caryopteris yesterday. Sorry, little birds, I'm a little too tidy. Beautiful pictures, Alan!

sandy lawrence –   – (December 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM)  

Gorgeous bird photos! I've left the Caryopteris seeds too, as well as a wild grassy area gone to seed. Question about this plant (small shrub, actually): Do you cut it down sharply in spring when new growth starts or just shape it up, Alan? This is my first winter for this bush.

Alan  – (December 13, 2014 at 12:42 PM)  

Lisa and Anon: The finches here are so impatient, picking flowers apart long before the seeds have finished forming. Wish they had a little more restraint!

LostRoses: I'll give a sock feeder another try. Maybe I'll hang it over the deck where the hummingbird feeders go in summer...

Jane: Thanks! If you ever hear me say "I'm a little too tidy" when referring to my garden, this is an indication of serious neurological trouble so please call help. ;)

Sandy: I usually cut them back by about half in the late winter or early spring. I've never cut them to the ground like I always do with my buddleia.

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