Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Goldfinch

(1) Original
(1) Original
(2) Greenfinch
(2) Greenfinch
(3) Greenfinches
(3) Greenfinches
(4) Greenfinches
(4) Greenfinches

 

 

The Goldfinch

 

Here we have a pair of Finches. Green and Gold, with a few other colours thrown in to make them even better looking. These are the types that you will see on your nut and fat ball feeders in your garden, or if you wander about like I do, you will see them feeding in someone else’s garden. This is a good pastime as sometimes the owner of the feeders, when they see you looking at “their” birds, will come out for blether and talk about the species that they have seen on their feeders. This is good as it gives me an idea of the amount of birds that can be seen in any day of the week and I can take a note of them for records.

The one on the left is the Goldfinch.  A very smart and colourful bird that graces any garden that it chooses to feed in. They are sometimes called the Thistle Finch as they like seeds, and can be seen fluttering about the garden feeding on the Dandelion seeds and others, tending to stay down low to feed whenever possible, but still love peanuts when there are no seeds are about.  The head pattern of the adults is unique.  A   mixture of black and white with a red face. Once seen is never forgotten as it is such a strikingly handsome bird. The wings are black with a band of bright yellow flash which gives these birds their name. The collective  noun for these birds is a “charm”, which is cute and appropriate as they are charming  to observe as they go about their daily routine, twittering their way around our gardens and sometimes hanging upside down on the flower heads as the tease the seeds out with their pointed bill. The offspring of these birds lack the fancy head colours, but they acquire them in few months, so if you see a finch that looks like a goldfinch with no red, and behaves like one then it will be a youngster.

 

The Greenfinch

This is a chunky, thick set, and very aggressive finch, with a stout bill that will frighten off most other birds at feeding areas. They feed on berries and seeds, and can crack seeds that other birds avoid. They also have found the nut feeders and will take charge of them. Sparrows, blue tits, gold finches and chaffinches have to wait in the queue to feed. Fortunately they seem to appear most times when rain is imminent, leaving the rest of the birds in peace for long periods, (well sometimes not that long).  As their name suggests, they come in green, with a few lighter shades down to yellow, with grey wings and a black tail. As well as going to nut feeders, they alight on bird tables to feast on sunflower seeds.  In late autumn they can be seen on our shorelines at Ettrick Bay, Rhubodach, etc, feeding on the abundant seeds that come from the yellow flowers (Sea Radish)  that abound these shores. There are that many of them that they look like oil seed rape that have been planted there. Anyway the seeds are very firm, but are no problems for the Greenfinch who will spend a great deal of time feeding on them, and if you disturb them they will only fly further on and start again. In the spring they will be found on the tops of bushes and trees giving out their call which can be a powerful trilling call and wheezy notes, and a nasal tswee.  In the winter there can be flocks of up to thirty of each of these species all on the search for food, so you will soon see them as you wander around.

 

                                    Norrie Mulholland

 

 

 

First Published in the Buteman. 13-06-2003. 


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