Goldfinches and Squirrels…

Dear Readers, there really seems to be no limit to the acrobatics that our local squirrels will perform to get at the sunflower seeds. Look at those toes, just about hanging on! I’m guessing that it’s all worth it. When the leaves fall off of the whitebeam I’m fully expecting there to be at least one drey, and possibly two. I think that the mother squirrel has had a pair of babies for the last two years. After all, with food and water available on your doorstep, why would you move?

But prior to the arrival of the squirrel, there was a largish party of goldfinches, including two fledglings.

One of the fledglings

Now, people sometimes ask how to tell the difference between a male and female goldfinch. In species such as chaffinches it’s very straightforward – males are pink and females are beige. But in goldfinches, it’s a bit more subtle. If you look at the photo below, however, it’s fairly clear (even though the photo is a bit on the murky side). The bird on the left of the photo is a male – the red colour on his face clearly extends above and beyond the eye. If the photo was clearer, you could also see that the feathers just above the beak are black (they are usually grey in the female. The bird on the right is a female – the red coloration doesn’t extend back beyond the eye. However, be warned – it’s practically impossible to sex juvenile birds, like the one on the top perch, and there can be lots of variation between individual birds due to their condition, whether they’re moulting or not and their age.

Male to the left, female to the right, juvenile at the top.

What I am really hoping, though, is that at some point the goldfinches take advantage of the teasels that I’m growing. I do like the idea of having wild food in the garden, but maybe the sunflower seeds are just too easy. Let’s see what happens as the year progresses.

And it’s still raining.

3 thoughts on “Goldfinches and Squirrels…

  1. Claire

    Very helpful guide for the birds, the photos are precious and excellent, as usual… This makes me want to go and watch birds more seriously. They seem to have disappeared from our garden right now ( maybe one of the reasons is the return of the concierge’s cat, master of this territory, plus the rain…) But we are spoiled here, there are several parks with large «  wild » parts . Next Sunday,maybe…

  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Thanks for the explanation on the Goldfinches – I never knew that. And sorry to read that you have more rain. Things are picking up here with sun all week and temperatures in the 20’s. I already have another post to catch up on and a long walk planned for tomorrow… 😊


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