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(please click the pic for a larger view)

Goldfinch are dazzling to the eye, a 1/2 oz blaze of chirping, yellow color in the male, soothing greenish beige in the female. How, ever in the name of sanity, do these birds, no more that seven inches long, make the trip from southern Canada to Mexico or South Florida and back each year?!?!? They just do; it’s a wonder.

It started at my feeders about two weeks ago, around March 1st, with one or two Goldfinch standing on  my sunflower feeder. They’ll eat sunflower seeds, along with a diet of various wildflower seeds and even tree sap for energy, but they vastly prefer the taste of thistle.

I quickly ran out and bought several hanging socks and put four of them up.

Boom! A flock started to arrive over the course of the next few days. At first, I had four, then twelve at one time. Now? I have eight sock feeders up and about 38 to count at a time feeding on them. I suspect we have about 60 goldfinch hanging around in our yard.

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( These are pineapple plants in the background.) Goldfinch make a most pleasant sounding, high-pitched racket as they rest in trees before making their approach to eat. And their presence often attracts other birds we rarely see….

This is a Red-Bellied Woodpecker. I’ve seen the Downy and the Pileated* woodpeckers for years, and when they hit the feeder it’s quite a mess with sunflower seeds flying every-which-way, but this is my first sighting of the Red-Bellied woodpecker…. here’s a clipped photo so you can see much better how the bird looks.

Recently, I’ve gone to buying large bags of thistle to re-fill the store bought thistle full hangers they sell for about 5 bucks each. A twenty dollar bag of thistle will re-fill about 15 hanging socks…so it’s quite a savings.  Of course, the Goldfinch hang around for only about three weeks tops on most occasions , then they are off headed south or back up north as they are now for summer in southern Canada or the northern U.S.  This means you have to time your purchases just right or it’s easy to get stuck with thistle. These birds most likely will not eat any saved, old thistle during their next flew-through. Goldfinch are picky; they like the thistle seeds to be fresh.

 

I sit and watch the carnival of Goldfinch feed most mornings while they’re here.  But this shot is also to picture a super African violet growing right now by the window… neat.

Another sighting of a Catahoula being hypnotized by the Goldfinch. These windows are Shadow’s ‘TV’ and he loves it when the finch come to town.

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Shadow suffered  severe lacerations on his body on two occasions this year and both were at night in our fenced in yard. First, a foot long razor cut slit his chest through three layers of skin and then a longer, more severe laceration along his forehead and back the second time to the tune of 3200 dollars in vet bills-he’s lucky to have survived the second attack.

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I figured it was a large wild cat of some kind, and a similar attack happened to a larger dog living down the road from us two months ago. Both dogs were well confined inside fenced in yards and in each case the dogs did not even bark, but returned home with these massive injuries….the amazing night tripped photo below brings up another possibility.

Really? Just wow. I still lean to the large wild cat idea.

I’m thinking they’re about 18 finch in this picture.

It’s great to let go, relax, and watch these little birds bulk up for their up coming journey. At this point, the eight socks need to be re-filled every other day!!

Cheers from Spring in Florida, I hope. It can freeze even in April here in Northern Florida during some weird years. I think it was around 1980 when it snowed clear down to the Bahamas…so there’s that. I’m not looking that up, just winging the date from memory:-)

Franque23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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