Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Rainy day diners
This goldfinch, shot through my kitchen window, beside which I have hung this tube feeder of black oil sunflower seeds, is a brightly coloured and most welcome daily visitor. He is one of about 60 goldfinches that visit every day and sing their "sweet sweet sweet" followed by a completely delightful burble of trills and musical notes.
They are creatures of habit. I can tell the time by their attendance at the feeders.
First to arrive are the black birds, the redwings with no mates, red epaulets barely visible, irridescent green-necked grackles and a few starlings. They are marauders, mobbing the larger feeders sometimes even the smaller ones, hanging on, wings flapping, tails turned under to try to balance on perches way too small, but ever greedy for a gullet-full of seeds.
Blue jays also are among the first to arrive when I put the feeders out between 5:30 and 7 depending on how long the dogs let me sleep in the morning. But at eight, the goldfinches and their companions the purple finches (only two pairs), house finches - also only two pairs, and some little white crowned sparrows arrive. They descend to the deck and along the rail. This is one of their favourite feeders: the little house that was designed as a bakery but has seen way too much snow, ice and battery from raccoons. Sometime visitors are the woodpeckers - downy, hairy and red-bellied. They show up throughout the day, both males and females - regular visitors but not at particular times. The others all return around 9 and then again every two or so hours until about 6 in the evening, then they disappear.
Another is the tube feeder pictured here, and still another a tube feeder filled with nyger seed. It is usually emptied by noon, as is this green tube feeder.
So I bought another feeder. This holds five large yogurt tubs full of seed. Obviously lots of seed falls on the ground. I've watched as a finch will select a seed, and throw it to the ground, search for another and follow the same routine until exactly the right seed for that bird has been found and then it is taken to another spot, cracked open and eaten. So on the ground there are lots of seeds. And lots of waiting goldfinches and white crowned sparrows.
I guess that's my lesson this spring - patience. You'd think I'd have learned that by now!