Golden moments

Seeing a juvenile bird being fed by a parent in your own garden, for me anyway, rates up there as one of the golden moments in the garden – especially if the juvenile in question is a goldfinch! Before writing this gardenwatch diary I had never seen (or should I say noticed) a goldfinch in my own garden.

I also had no idea that there were different species of birds known by the same name. I have to say I have found this very interesting and when I have discovered this, with birds seen in my own garden, find I am drawn to finding images to see this difference for myself.

Carduelis carduelis is the goldfinch that is seen in my garden. The first image below has been taken from Wikipedia. I have chosen to show it as it shows this bird feeding from thistle seeds. I originally put thistle seeds (niger seeds) in my feeders but let’s just say that they germinated far too easily under my feeders! When I discovered that they loved sunflower hearts just as much that suited much better as they were not the only birds that loved them!

Carduelis tristis, (in the second photo also from Wikipedia) is the goldfinch that I have seen in many of the American blogs that I visit. Now it really looks ‘golden’ so I really wonder how the goldfinch visiting my garden got its name. You can see that it also enjoys thistle seeds. I wonder if it likes sunflower hearts too. Maybe one of my blogging friends could answer that?

Now, I know nothing about this bird but reading Wikipedia it said:The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), also known as the Eastern Goldfinch and Wild Canary, is a North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from southern Canada to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter.”

Comparing like with like I then looked up what Wikipedia said about the goldfinch that visits my garden. It said: “The Goldfinch or European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) is a small passerine bird in the finch family. It breeds across Europe, North Africa, and western and central Asia, in open, partially wooded lowlands. It is resident in the milder west of its range, but migrates from colder regions. It will also make local movements, even in the west, to escape bad weather. It has been introduced to many areas of the world (Snow and Perrins 1998).”

The first time I noticed goldfinches in my garden it was at the beginning of the year – two years ago. I don’t remember now when they left. I just didn’t see them during the spring and summer months. Funnily enough during the wet summer of last year and the wet summer (so far) of this year they have stayed in my garden. I also believe now that there could have been juveniles last year too.

Why was I unsure? Well, I had never been sure what they looked like until today. I have a treat for you now in the video below. Wind, background and traffic noise often spoil video footage and that is why I add music but in this case I have left it as it was. You can hear the chirping of the young goldfinch quite well as it demands food. How mechanical its wings look too don’t you think. It looks more musical box than real!

Processing couldn’t really keep up with the speed the juvenile goldfinches wings! You will also have seen a plant blowing across the screen at the end when the wind caught up speed. The plant is teasel and I have planted it with one thing in mind – photos of the goldfinch feeding on it! I wonder if I will see this at all. I wonder if other finches and birds will feed from it too.

Last but by no means least I have video of another juvenile in my garden. This was the planned subject of this post until this morning. Juvenile blue tits from our Camera Nestbox would not be seen in my garden this year as the chicks did not survive. However, it has been wonderful to see them visit from other successful broods. They really are delightful to see in the garden.

Finally, with this increase in juvenile birds I also saw the return of another bird today – the Sparrowhawk! I’d guess this time of year is easy pickings for birds of prey. Mm… the blue tit was alert enough to the helicopter flying overhead but the goldfinch did appear a ‘sitting duck’ on the tree branches. Fingers crossed for them both.

The photos above taken from Wikipedia see GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts.

The video of the goldfich juvenile being feed was taken in my garden on 12th July 2008. The video of the blue tit juvenile was taken in my garden on 11th July 2008.

16 thoughts on “Golden moments

  1. Great post Shirl and interesting read, I love the video of the young GF being fed, I have had young GF’s in my garden, but never witnessed them being fed before TFS.

  2. I Love goldfinches – I had them in my last garden but not in this – the baby goldfinches are like mad wind up toys aren’t they. Lovely post, thanks.
    An Artist’s Garden

  3. I love bird watching. I have a bird field book I take outside with me; then I can jot down notes in my nature journal.

  4. Shirl, what wonderful video today. Your Goldfinch is lovely.

    We have quite a few of the American Goldfinch in our garden, often many in the winter. They do enjoy the niger seed, but also like the sunflowers, which we offer whole.

  5. What a wonderful video! Maybe that’s how I should capture my bluebirds…. I see birds visiting the nest often, but the opening is facing the wrong way for me to be able to observe any feedings. The parents sure keep a close eye on us when we’re outside.

    We have some American Goldfinches as well. MIL told me that they get winter feathers so they look like different birds about 1/2 of the year.

    I was sad to hear that your baby Tits didn’t make it, I was hoping at least one would. I wish I had a nestbox camera like you do.

    Did you capture this video on a regualr handheld video camera?

  6. delightful videos Shirl! I could bird watch all day!

    The American goldfinches that visit here love sunflower seeds, and they really love coneflower seeds. We tend to see them here in the spring, then later in the summer when the coneflowers mature.

  7. We have the American Goldfinch in our garden all year. The male molts into his yellow plumage for the breeding season. During the winter he more resembles the female.

  8. I’ve got a little gang of 6-7 juvenile blue tits visiting my feeders. It’s great fun to watch as they jostle for a good position.

  9. Hi again Mike, Karen, Bobbi, Debbie, Cinj, Garden girl, Karen & Easygardener and Hello Donna and Chey 🙂

    Mike – Thank-you, I am guessing you have some wonderful photos of young goldfinches on your blog. This is the first time I have seen them being fed myself. I was thrilled to catch them on film. Have a good week 😀

    Karen – Thank-you, what a shame you are not seeing goldfinches in your garden now. I agree that is exactly what they are like! Thanks so much for nominating this post on Blotanical. It is holding a new record for me now – what fun! Have a good week 😀

    Bobbi – It’s good to hear that you enjoy watching the birds too. How interesting that you keep a journal – you must really enjoy it. Have a good birding week 😀

    Debbie – Thank-you, I’m glad you enjoyed them. Your goldfinches must bring such colour to your winter garden. I suppose it is not surprising that they eat the same foods as ours but still interesting to hear about it. Have a good week 😀

    Cinj – Thank-you! Yes, please do!! I love watching videos of birds and wildlife from other gardens and often they work much better than photographs. Yes, I read that the American goldfinches moulted. I wonder why they do that. Yes, it was sad that the blue tit chicks didn’t survive. The camera in the Nestbox does give a great insight into nesting. Yes, the capture was taken from a pretty basic handheld video camera. I usually use a tripod when filming in my garden. Have a good week 😀

    Garden girl – Thank-you – so could I but these days I am not getting the time 🙁 Interesting to hear that the sunflower seeds are a popular food throughout the world. Ah…now I would love to see video footage or photos of a goldfinch feeding from a coneflower!! Have a good week 😀

    Karen – Thank-you! I agree our goldfinch is a very pretty little bird. It looks quite tropical just now but it is completely out of place in the winter months as it feeds through snow and winds. Have a good week 😀

    Donna – Excellent, that must be a treat for you! Ah… I didn’t realise the plumage was to impress the ladies 😉 Have a good week 😀

    Chey – Thank-you! Mine too 🙂 Have a good week 😀

    Easygardener – Wonderful! It really is fun watching them shuffling along the branches too – not knowing the best vantage point. That is until the first food delivery 😉 Have a good week 😀

  10. This is such a wonderful post Shirl. I have goldfinches all year around here; in the spring when they begin to molt the yellow color gets extremely bright in the males. The variety with the red on the head is beautiful–we don’t get that type here. My goldfinches eat hulled sunflower seeds, suet and niger seed. They will eat black oil sunflower seeds with the hulls if nothing else is available in the yard but much prefer the hull-less variety. I’m impressed by your amazing video as well as the camera box you have set up. It’s all awesome.

  11. Hi Shirl – there is something on my latest post for you – please dont feel any obligation to respond

  12. Completely on a tangent, the fantastic ‘Birds Britannica’ by Mark Cocker lists a number of great local names for the goldfinch, including King Henry, King Harry Redcap, Goldy, Draw-water and Seven-coloured Linnet.

  13. Hi again Jan, Good Acres, Patient gardener and Pete:-)

    Jan – Thank-you, I’m delighted you enjoyed my video and camera box. Yes our goldfinches prefer the hulled sunflower hearts here too. I have to say that I like the golden colour of your goldfinches. Sorry I am late with this reply. I missed this post before we went on holiday. Enjoy the rest of your week 😀

    Good Acres – Thank-you, I am delighted you enjoyed it. I enjoyed this one myself. Enjoy the rest of your week 😀

    Patient gardener – Oh…. sorry! I have just remembered about this. Thank-you so much for awarding shirls gardenwatch the Arte y Pico award. I am delighted that we share the enjoyment of wildlife in our gardens. Enjoy the rest of your week 😀

    Pete – Thanks for adding this. This is what I enjoy about comments on blogs. What wonderful names for the goldfinch. Enjoy the rest of your week 😀

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