We have a flock (or charm) of around 13 goldfinches visiting the garden daily for a feed of nyjer seed. One flew into the living room window the other day and gave himself a real knock. Stunned, he sat on the gravel for a while, before realising his exposed position (and probably remembering that the local sparrowhawk had breakfasted on Mr Blackbird earlier) he bounced across the garden and hid by the car.
Half an hour later he was still sitting there and looking extremely sorry for himself, puir wee birdie. Concerned that he had not just been stunned but was hurt, Andrew slowly approached the car, and quickly scooped him up in his hand. Fetched into the house Goldie was quite unfazed by the attention and sat perched on Andrew’s finger while we had a quick check over for any sign of blood or damage. Goldie seemed OK so we decided to give him a safe space to quietly recuperate.
The trusty old pet carrier has been temporary home to many a wee visitor and was dragged out yet again. A tea-towel covered the floor and was loosely folded to give Goldie a hidey hole, but he had other plans and clung to Andrew’s finger and would not let go. Encouraged into the box, we placed the box in a cupboard for him to rest.
All our windows have bird stickers, mainly hawk outlines in an attempt to prevent such window accidents, so we checked that they were all still intact, then turned our attention to the garden. The feeder is on the whirliegig (rarely used in the winter) in the middle of the garden, so clear visibility all round.
Both the pedestal bird bath and the ground water bowl were clear of frost and well topped up with fresh water, so no issues there, leaving us to assume that either Mrs Sparrowhawk must have had another fly by or the fighter planes on manoeuvres in the area had startled Goldie.
Goldfinches are stunningly beautiful birds with their bright yellow wing feathers and glorious red faces, then, when they are on the ground with their wings folded their wing tips and tails look to be white spotted. Their slender beak is ideal for tweezering seeds out of dried seed heads. Teasels are a great favourite. We planted two of these tall, plants a few years ago, as the flowers are loved by bees and butterflies, as well as for the seeds for the goldfinches but were unprepared for the ferocity of their self seeding and are still digging them out from all over the garden!
Goldfinch nests are usually at the end of a branch, built by the female of moss, lichen and grass, lined with plant down or wool gathered from fences.
Between three and seven eggs are laid from late April and incubated for 10-14 days. Feeding by the parents lasts 13-18 days before the babies fledge and mum and dad go on to have two broods!