Tuesday, September 6

Losing their spots

There was a time when goldfinches were rarely seen in our garden. We would hear them flying over but our garden didn’t seem to interest them.

It’s a different matter now as there is hardly a day goes by that that we don’t spot at least a couple on one of the feeders. Recently though we have counted record numbers. Last week we counted at least eighteen feeding at the same time either on the ground or from hanging feeders.

There were only a couple of adults - the rest being young - surely it wasn’t a family group! The young were at various stages in the development of their adult plumage, some just beginning to grow the red face feathers.

We first saw an increase in the number of goldfinch visitors during last winter when they seemed to take up permanent residence on our feeders. Since then they have become a regular feature.

The video clip blow shows just some of the ‘flock’. The ground table is placed below a hanging feeder so that the sunflower hearts that drop from the feeder aren’t wasted. The young goldfinches are joined by a young greenfinch which is also in the process of acquiring its adult feathers.
All the blue and great tits now seem to have matured and most of the robins have acquired their red breasts but some sparrows are still in the transition stage like this young male.


  1. Yes, I think Goldfinches are a lot more common than they used to be - though I don't think I have ever seen 18 simultaneously. Maybe due to Climate Change they spend more time here than wherever they used to hang out?

  2. Very cute :) How much seed/food do you put out for them in the winter?

  3. I think in our case it was more a case of providing the food they like in a position they feel safe in Mark.

    We feed the birds all year round Tanya. I'm not sure how much we use but it's a lot. We have three bird tables, a ground feeding table and seven hanging feeders of various types. The goldfinches specially like niger seed and sunflower hearts.

  4. We also have lots of goldfinches and recently counted 13 at one time so you have well exceeded that.I love to hear them as well,they have a very distinctive call.

  5. What a lovely video. I still get a thrill when I see goldfinches in the garden, I haven't seen any for a while though. What a great idea to have a ground feeder below a hanging feeder. I see so many seeds dropped from the feeders that it certainly makes sense.

  6. I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have bookmarked you to check out new stuff you post.

  7. They do have such a twittery song FL

    We have lots on the plot too Jo that like to feed on greenflies in the plum and apple trees.

  8. I have gold finches here year round at the thistle feeder. I do notice that during dertain times during the summer they aren't here as much. They must have better food somewhere else!

    The past couple of weeks they are here all day long! They are so beautiful!

  9. Hello again, Sue. Thanks for the thumbs up on this post. As you know we are enjoying Goldfinch visitors here :-)

    You’ve also just reminded me I should reinstate some sort of feeder below a couple of popular hanging feeders. Only problem there is our neighbour’s cats are already stalking the area. As you said above safety is a consideration when siting ground feeders.

    Love that shot of the juv male sparrow… great capture :-D

  10. Are your goldfinches the same as ours, Robin. I've a photo of an adult bird on my website here

    Some feeders and a bird table are close to one of our windows, Shirl and the birds seem to look straight at us but be aware that we are behind glass and safe

  11. I love goldfinches, though they get very noisy and aggressive in Spring. I still find it amazing to watch the young birds gradually acquire adult plumage, it takes far less time than I ever think it will.

  12. You always get such wonderful shots which I am very envious of. I see all these wonderful birds in my gardens but just can't get good shots to keep!! :-(

  13. It is fascinating seeing the transformation Janet.

    It helps getting them to come and feed close to the windows and having burst set on my camera Tanya


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