Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Glint of Gold

It has been a strange winter. Western mountains are usually known for harsher weather and a longer cold season, but this season has been far from white - brown and drab has ruled the landscape, and with the absence of the more colorful birds of summer, it can be quite drearier. Fortunately, though, the landscape glittered a few days ago with the random passing of a flock of goldfinches.

Both American goldfinches and lesser goldfinches like to make themselves known at my feeders, and while they will casually peck at the Nyjer seed in its mesh sock, their preferred repast is the hulled sunflower I offer in several hopper feeders. For a few days it was a crowded buffet with multiple goldfinches, as well as the resident house finches and house sparrows, not-so-patiently waiting their turn to munch.

And munch they do - snagging seeds and briskly breaking them into bite-sized pieces, as often as not tossing chips and bits to the ground, where the juncos, quail, doves, and other ground-feeders will appreciate them. Nothing goes to waste in such a bleak landscape, when the next food source may be unknown or unreliable.

While the goldfinches have already moved on to different areas, that soft glint of gold at the feeders helps make winter seem much less drab, and serves as a reminder of the colorful season that may be closer than it seems.

1 comment:

gogoj1 said...

Over the past few months I have been struggling to keep the house finches and sparrows off, and the lesser goldfinches on a long list of feeders I have tried in my yard in Mesa, Arizona. I have found only two that work with modifications and one as designed: 1)Perky Pet 2-in-1 feeder set up for slot, WITH THE PERCHES cut off. 2)S&K Manufacturing Rainbow Feeder flipped over so it works as an upside-down feeder 3)Droll Yankee Bottoms Up Finch Feeder.