American Goldfinches Fight for the Feeders


My backyard has been filled with American Goldfinches for the past few weeks.  They empty my six-port niger feeder in just a few days, so finally I had to break down and get out the 24-port feeder!  They are eating us out of house and home.  It’s a good thing they are so cute and cheerful.  I love their happy little calls as they eat.  They are starting their spring molt, and a few of them are starting to turn bright yellow.  I sat out in the wind last weekend to photograph them, and I felt a little sorry for the tiny birds, who were getting tossed around like crazy in the gusts.  This little guy didn’t mind the wind a bit.  He sat in my crape myrtle and sang his little heart out!

At our house we tease about the Goldfinch Conundrum: how to fit six finches on a six-port feeder.  It’s not as easy as it looks.  The flock of finches all gathers around the feeder, and individual birds hop to a port, grab a few mouthfuls, and then get chased off by their friends.  It’s exhausting to watch!  I made a little video of the feeding frenzy:

The goldfinches that don’t have a spot at the feeder like to hang out in the crape myrtle or in my honeysuckle to wait their turns at the feeder.  I thought it was hilarious that even after I put out the bigger feeder, only a couple of birds flew over to try it.  The rest continued to bicker over the old six-port feeder!  Oh well, maybe by this weekend the birds will be used to the bigger feeder.  It’s fun to get group shots when the big feeder is full of customers!

American Goldfinch waiting his turn at the feeder

American Goldfinch waiting his turn at the feeder

Mrs. Cardinal flew in to the feeder at one point.  I was sad to see that she has lost her foot!  She didn’t seem to mind, though.  She was still chipping happily to Mr. Cardinal in the next yard over.  She seems to be able to function just fine – she just hops a little more than she used to.  She’s molting into her spring colors and she looked so cheerful as she ate at my feeder.  Mrs. Cardinal gave me a good lesson for the day – don’t fret about the small things, and enjoy every day to its fullest!