Tuesday, August 4, 2009


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.


  1. goldfinches are one of my favorites too. I love to watch them fly, up and down, up and down. so cute. i envy your desk. i would love that view, although i think i would be totally distracted from doing anything useful! :)



  2. WOW! Talk about bird paradise -- they have you surrounded. :))

    I love your photos and the descriptions that follow and have learned a few things here today!

    I also love the idea of marking the windows to stop the birds from flying into them. We have a big bay window and I can't tell you the number of times I've heard a loud thud from them hitting it. I hate seeing the birds on the ground looking stunned from the hit. I think I'll mark my windows too.
    Outstanding photos!

    Have a great time going up the mountains with the Senior Trailblazers. I wish we had mountains where I live. To be truthful, I've never seen a mountain except in a photo.

    I look forward to your post about the movie, "The Lives of Others."

    Have a wonderful day/night, Susan

  3. Beautiful pictures! I am still struggling in the whole photography end of things, you seem to have it nailed! Enjoy your hike!

  4. Hi Djan,

    Yesterday it's chalk, now it's birds! But those were good photos! You've given me ideas on how to attract birds. There are lots of birds nesting in our mango tree, and I want to take photos of them but I always fail. I tried a lot of baits hahaha, but still no good. But now, hmmm socks! Big thanks!


  5. Great photos, the goldfinches are just so pretty. We have lots of house sparrows but it is rare to see a goldfinch, maybe they like the Bellingham area better.

    I do pretty much the same as you when a little bird decides to fly into one of our windows, gloves and a safe box. Since we have lived here only one didn't make it.

    Have a great hike, can't wait to see the photos.


  6. What fun to have so many birds so close to your windows. When we lived in Reno we were slaves to the local bird population. Literally hundreds of quail would arrive each morning, along with finches and junkos (sp?). I would buy seed by the 50lb sack! I haven't taken them on to that extent since, but have had hummer feeders. Love them! Your deck flowers are so pretty. Thanks for sharing.

  7. D-Jan,what a charming sight!I just came from snaping out the birds that were messing up my balcony,thought I'll put it up on my travel blog.I agree with you,those sparrows do mess up the place.

    I feed them or they sit on the railing and tweet out loud till i come.I don't have my balcony enclosed so they come into the livingroom,strike the glass windows but so far not one got hurt.When i travel i put out large amounts of food & water on the balcony for them.But it is nice to have them around.

  8. Now and then but not always the birds are killed flying into windows. It is hard to take but sometimes a venetian blind helps. A screen wire screen. Streamers. You have a nice set of bird photos here.

    Thanks for visiting my Pick a Peck of Pixels blog.

  9. Thanks so much for visiting my blog and adding yourself as a follower. I have loved looking through your blog. The photos are great. I can spend hours watching the birds that visit my feeders. These goldfinches are some of my favorites. I like to see the flashes of yellow zipping across my yard.

  10. I love your photos and the descriptions that go along with them. Goldfinches are really fun birds to watch.

    Looks like you live in goldfinch paradise!

  11. Just love Goldfinches ! Yours are many in numbers..my husband would be impressed !
    I noticed on one of your older posts your flowers are so prolific also, you must take very good care of them..and keep them happy.
    Lovely post !

  12. I love the little goldfinches, but like flowers, there is hardly a bird I don't like!
    Great photos.

  13. You have a great view of the birds from your desk, don't you. I know they are great time-wasters (I mean that in a positive sense) and succumb to watching them myself every day. I see mine from the sink! not literally, but while I'm washing the dishes. Ours are not so brightly coloured, but we are extremely lucky if we see a goldfinch in the garden, they are not so common here in the town. Aren't they just the prettiest colour yellow.
    Blessings, Star

  14. Your pictures of birds are so clear. We have 5 feeders in the back yard and I can see them from the kitchen windows. They are not too close and I am bad at identifying the birds, but just now we had 2 pairs of cardinals, 2 pairs of bluejays, 2 pairs of doves, many black cap chickadees, some Baltimore orioles, some flickers, some red headed woodpeckers, some thrashers and many others, but as soon as I go to the den and open the sliding door – they fly away. Plus there are 3 or 4 squirrels and chipmunks that shoo the birds away. It’s too hot to keep the windows open and there are so many mosquitoes that I don’t stay out too long. You have such a nice wide window to look at them.

  15. Djan, You have a really nice post! It is really highlited by the picture of your flowers and your neighbors flag. Very patriotic! Keep them coming. Your neighbor.


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