Goldfinches

Today, while out re-planting some spring bulbs (something had dug or pulled them up  – I suspect a blackbird) I noticed a small bird upside down on the ground. Initially, I thought it was dead, but on closer inspection realised it was still alive. I gently turned it upright and it sat for a few brief moments on my gloved finger. It was a goldfinch. It is so amazing to see tiny birds up close, the patterns and rich colouring of their feathers are so exquisite. I assumed the poor thing had crashed into one of our kitchen windows, a not irregular occurrence and one that has resulted in a few casualties over the years. The bird was obviously a bit traumatized. I looked for a safe and dry spot to place it, also hoping that I may get a chance to take a photograph before it flew off. I tried to encourage it from my finger onto the little gate post next to the house but instead it flew off and landed a short distance away on a rock.

I went to get the camera and managed to get a few reasonable photos. I did feel guilty taking it’s picture while it was obviously still distressed and my presence was probably not helping matters.

Goldfinch

Goldfinch

I checked on it a while later with the kids and it was still there. I like the kids getting a close view of any wildlife and was reminded of a quote from  book I am currently reading called Field Notes from a Hidden City: An Urban Nature Diary by Ester Woolfson. In the book, she quotes the English philosopher John Locke from a treatise he wrote in 1692, “I think that people should be accustomed, from their cradles, to be tender to all sensible creatures, and to spoil or waste nothing at all.” While the City of Aberdeen is the urban backdrop to her book, Ms Woolfson examines our relationship with nature, particularly with some of animals that are ‘looked down upon’ by the majority of the human race like rats, slugs and pigeons.It’s a well written and engaging read and I would encourage anyone to read it.

I am glad to report that the goldfinch did later fly away. I hope it survives. Goldfinches, along with chaffinches and greenfinches are all regular visitors to our bird feeders in the winter, though their natural diet is grass and other seeds.

 

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17 thoughts on “Goldfinches

    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Thank you – though it is really a cheat photo considering the poor bird was probably concussed and not feeling up to getting away:)

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  1. Miranda

    Glad the Goldfinch blew away. How beautiful! I love Ester’s quote and it chimes with Chris Packham’s rant at the programme ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ and the horrible way the contestants eat live creatures…and for entertainment! Another can of worms methinks

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  2. Jane

    What an intimate and gentle encounter with the little bird and such beautiful makings in miniature. Ms Woolfson’s perspective is illuminating and the quote is spot on – lovely book.

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  3. Robbie

    OH my what a pretty photo + your gold finches are different than ours—yours have red in the face. Our are all gold only in the summer + all green in the winter-wow..what a beauty. i have to check that book out-love the quote and something I believe I would enjoy:-)
    Lovely post:-)

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Have just googled the American Goldfinch – it is very different in colour isn’t it. How wonderful the natural world is – so many colours. Thank you for your kind words.

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      1. Robbie

        Yours are beautiful, too. The Gold Finches in our yard turn this beautiful golden color ( first of summer) + when all the flowers( sunlowers, cosmos, cone etc) start turning to seed they are on top of the flowers eating their seed heads. The best is the tall sunflowers when they hang upside down in the garden. Quite comical!They hardly let you get near them for they dart about so quickly. I have thought about camping out there during the day JUST to get a shot of them- but if you move just an inch they bolt! They are hyper birds. In the winter they turn green + you don’t notice them at the feeders for they blend in all winter along…beautiful birds to watch + yours with red was quite stunning!

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  4. Melissa Shaw-Smith

    Great post! I love the Locke quote and your book recommendation has been duly noted. Sounds like my kind of read. Hope you have some lovely, local nature encounters with your family over the holidays. All the best, Melissa

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  5. Debra

    Such a pretty bird. I loved that book! On the plus side having you present nearby while it recovered its senses might have made it safer. You may have scared off any predatir nearby. =)

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  6. gaiainaction

    So true, the words of John Locke. I am glad the little one survived, as my sister picked an injured Goldfinch up the other day which sadly did not make it, and they are such precious little birds.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Poor thing. Winter will take its toll on our smaller birds. it amazes me how they survive, they seem so tiny and almost fragile when you are close up.

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      1. gaiainaction

        Yes, one wonders where they spend the night? Or when it is raining all day long? I am guessing in the hedgerows, but not sure. Yes, so fragile.

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      2. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

        The do flock together in winter so, yes I can imagine little groups of them together in a hedgerow. According to the UK RSPB site many of those in northern parts of the UK migrate south as far as Spain. In Gordon D’Arcy’s, guide to birds of Ireland he also suggests that some of our birds may also head towards the south coast of Ireland for the winter..

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