Mason beeNovember 15, 2013
Building a wildlife garden wallDecember 27, 2013
Goldfinches are one of our most beautiful birds with their striking red, black and white face markings and yellow wing flashes. They don't have a song as such but make a flowing twittering noise which is very easily recognisable once you know it. Because of their call which they more or less constantly repeat you can easily recognise them even in flight. Both adult sexes are the same but young birds lack the red white and black face markings, but they do have the same yellow wing flashes. Goldfinches have suffered in the past because the Victorians, who liked collecting and caging things were very fond of them as cage birds,so many were caught in nets and spent their lives captive in cages.
They feed mainly on seeds and insects and can be attracted to your wildlife garden later in the summer by letting thistles and teasle (teasel) grow, as they are very fond of those seeds. You can also attract them to your wildlife garden by putting out a hanging bird feeder or having a garden pond. They constantly visit my wildlife pond in summer to drink and bathe, and are always a very welcome sight. Their nest is of the open kind and made of soft material like moss, hair, fine grass, any bits of wool flying about and I often see them gathering the threads from spiders webs. They weave this all together and sometimes dress it with small flowers like forget-me-nots as if making it more attractive.
You can see a picture of a goldfinch below eyeing up some forget-me-nots. The nest is in a bush or small tree, often one with thorns to make access from predators difficult. I've also found them in conifers amongst the spines at the end of a hanging branch. They lay 4-6 small eggs which are almost white with some speckling of purple and brown which are laid in May.