I have so many goldfinches these days, they are almost as profuse as the pine siskins were when they were around. Right now the only thing I have more of than goldfinches are house sparrows, and they are perch challenged and not interested in finch food anyway. So they don't interfere with the goldfinch.
That is a chopstick with Chinese characters a female is perched on (the bottom fell out of this feeder and I had to make do; click to enlarge). Female goldfinch (and, I have also noticed, house sparrows) pretend to be helpless and flutter their wings as the female on the left is doing, above. The males are easy to tell apart, since they are brilliantly colored and the females don't have that dark spot on their foreheads. The male then will feed the female and she will bat her wings at him... I'm not sure if this is foreplay or if they are trying each other out. Apparently the female is looking for a good provider and if he takes good care of her, then she will be persuaded to have his babies.
I really have been trying to attract hummingbirds. I did have some lovely rufous hummers before they migrated away from the area. This flowerbed (above our downstairs neighbor's flag) hangs over our deck to entice them to my porch. Above this bed there's a hummingbird feeder that I've been maintaining, even if I haven't seen any hummers lately. As I was taking this picture, however, who should show up but a male Anna!! He looked at me but disappeared as I attempted to take his picture. I was so pleased, though, just to see him.
There are six birds in this picture: three on the finch sock (filled with thistle), and a male in the upper right, and two female house sparrows in the background beneath him. The male house sparrows are also much more brightly colored. They are just not my favorite birds; they make a huge mess and crowd out other birds. But they have grown on me to a degree. Star helped me to appreciate them a little bit, in an earlier post.
Just look at this sock covered with goldfinches! That blur on the right is a finch leaving, after fighting with the one yelling at him. I guess he will approach from another direction. They are not easily deterred. The pecking order in the bird world is pretty rigid, I guess. There is one little tiny chickadee that seems to be the king of the hill, and the others leave when he shows up. Sometimes he chases the others, I think just for fun.
This last picture is taken from my desk, showing the location of three feeders: the sock, the upside down feeder with the chopstick, and the transparent feeder on the right with one house sparrow in it. The strange squares in the foreground are my attempt at marking my window so they will stop flying into it: little yellow post-its with my version of a scary thing in black felt scribbled on them. You can also see a butterfly sticker on the lower right, which is supposed to keep them from flying into the windows. It's very disconcerting to see them bang themselves up. If I hear a particularly loud strike, I'll go and find the dazed bird, put on my gloves and place him in a box to keep him safe from predators. So far, every one has eventually come to and flown away.
So that's the word from Birdland in Bellingham, first week in August, from my front porch. I'll be going up into the mountains with the Senior Trailblazers again on Thursday, so I'll be posting pictures about that adventure. I am also mulling a serious post about a movie I saw the other day: The Lives of Others. It won an Academy Award a few years back for best foreign movie, and it was outstanding.