Tuesday, 18 May 2010


I was attracted by a goldfinch sitting at the top of the small evergreen on our rockery. I walked past it quite close as I went to the shed and it did not fly away which was unusual.
We get many goldfinches passing through our garden, but they are usually easily disturbed.

I noticed that every now and then it would look down at the ground. I carefully looked out of the utility room window and noticed another, scruffy looking goldfinch in the vegetation on the rockery.

It seemed to be sun bathing. After a while it awkwardly fluttered through the vegetation and started to eat the seeds from the old seed heads.
It then moved on to eating all the seeds from a dandelion head. The adult was behaving as if the one on the ground was a recently fledge chick. It was smaller and scruffier, but it also appeared to have coloured plumage on its face. Young birds develop the red face latter, this one had a reddish, black face markings.

View from the kitchen window. The adult is at the top of the evergreen the youngster is in the seed heads in the foreground.

Goldfinches do produce young by May, but this one seemed too far developed to be a youngster and the cold weather early in the year seems to have put most animals behind in their mating.

The adult bird flew away for a few minutes and I took a closer look at the possible chick. It did not fly away, even though I approached to about 3 feet away. It looked at me but did not move. The ungainly way it was moving earlier and the way it appeared now did suggest a youngster.

I kept an eye on them for several hours during the afternoon as many cats pass through our garden. I managed to keep our cat inside.

Late afternoon and they were both gone.  If anything had happened to the "chick" there would have still been a distraught parent looking for it – so I am assuming it all ended well.

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