The Greenfinches, above, seem very at home in our garden. This year however there has been a decrease in its numbers in the UK suspected to be the result of a disease. Details of this disease can be found here. I certainly have noticed throughout the year that numbers had increased in my garden but now the numbers do appear to be fewer. I did see a bird a few months ago that had increased in size and appeared to be lethargic (possible symptoms of this disease) but after successfully chasing it away it did not return.
I have continued to regularly clean my bird tables and feeders and hoe/sweep below the stations moving them around a little also. The birds at this time of year, with the cold of winter approaching, are now relying on the feeding stations they have already found - so I do not intend to stop feeding them now.
The Chaffinches, shown above, are slowly increasing in numbers in my garden. They come in pairs usually and I think I have spotted three males recently. The females are a bit trickier to spot as they are quite similar to a greenfinch in appearance. The footage above really does not do the males colouring justice but I have found it difficult to catch them on film at all, far less as a pair, so I decided to include it. The light was going down and the table was quiet that how I managed to catch them. They usually search the ground below the feeders.
The Goldfinches, shown above, have seriously increased in numbers since the beginning of the year. I had never seen a goldfinch until I put up a feeder with niger seeds in it – after reading about the goldfinches love for them in Gardeners’ World Magazine. I put the feeder up in Jan/Feb this year and overnight I had goldfinches. I couldn’t believe it - I had never seen these birds before. They looked so tropical. I maybe had about five visiting for a while then but I was maybe too slow to refill the feeders – no loyalty and they were off!!! I wondered perhaps if they had gone to a warmer place as we had it very cold with snow in March.
My daughter was doing a bird project for school over the summer so we decided to reintroduce the black thistle (niger) seeds to tempt back the goldfinches. After a few weeks it worked and one came – we were thrilled. I then replaced the thistle seeds with sunflower hearts as the greenfinches had also been enjoying them and much went to the ground and weeds followed.
The sunflower seeds were also a hit and numbers of goldfinches increased – by the end of my daughter’s project in the middle of November this year we reached a record nine goldfinches!
In response to this I added another feeder of sunflower hearts and more came. One day I counted a new record of 17 between my feeders and the birds in waiting on my neighbour’s tree! They were difficult to spot in the tree and I suspect the count was even higher than 17.
Goldfinches definitely like to feed in groups - although we still get the odd straggler that feeds with any other small birds or completely on its own. They are surprisingly feisty when other birds try to feed beside them! Sometimes when I refill the feeders I can hear the tinkling sound they make as a group high up in the tree above me – they sound quite fairy-like!
Follow the links for more information and pics of the Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.
The video clips of Greenfinches and Goldfinches, shown above, were taken in my garden in September 2006. The video clip of the Chaffinches was taken yesterday, 30th December 2006 - note no frosts or snow at the moment.