About two weeks ago I had a flock of 20-50 American Goldfinches visiting the yard and devouring the food in my feeder. Their happy calls are one of my favorite parts of spring – “Baby!” “Potato Chip!” They were molting into their breeding colors and some of the males were looking very spiffy – not quite fully molted, but getting pretty close. So after watching them cluster in a jasmine vine waiting for their turn at the feeder, I thought, “Why not place some of those vines closer to my feeder, to give them a photogenic place to wait?”
They were happy to use my pretty perches! I wanted to squeal so badly when I saw them start landing on the vine, but I didn’t want to scare the birds. So I kept shooting and Rich’s ear got the brunt of the squeals when I went inside. (Sorry honey!)
I was a little surprised that the birds didn’t mind perching on flimsy branches, but they didn’t. I guess they are used to landing in flimsy flowers to extract seeds, as they are almost exclusively seed-eaters. When the perch kind of bent down with the bird’s weight, she didn’t seem to mind – she was too intent on watching for openings in feeder ports!
I have watched the goldfinches going to my Coral Porterweed to perch, and they like to hunt for seeds in the native red salvia plants below. So I also tried putting a porterweed flower next to my feeder, and yep, they landed on that too!
It takes a lot of patience to earn the trust of these birds. They’ve seen me feeding them regularly since November. They don’t mind me at all when I go out to refill their feeder, but they get very wary of me when I go out and sit and watch them. So I hid on the far side of my yard where they didn’t seem to mind me. Especially when they noticed the nice big feeder full of nyger…
It was such a treat to see these pretty birds up close through my lens. Especially knowing that they will soon be heading north, and it will be eight long months before they return to my yard. Actually, I really lucked out. The day after I took these photos, the big flock of birds headed home. Since then we’ve only had 2-3 birds at a time.
Good luck on your travels, Goldy’s finches! We look forward to seeing you again next fall.