|A pair on a Nyjer feeder (c.OOS)|
A letter to the recently published Wings magazine questions the abundance of Goldfinches in gardens this winter. We received a good, quick response from Garden Bird watchers, with some interesting observations. We wont really have an accurate picture until all the Garden Bird Survey results are in and analysed, but its good to get a mid season response, albeit from a small sample.
Flocks of 20 and indeed up to 30 Goldfinches have been reported from regular stations around the country but 2 respondents in the Dublin suburb of Dalkey report contrasting fortunes: birds and no birds... maybe Goldfinches can pick and choose their garden, they certainly seem to share info as flocks usually build from an initial pair.
Respondents with the biggest numbers of birds cite the Goldfinches preference for Sunflower Hearts over Nyjer seeds. Another had heard that stale Nyjer seed is unattractive to Goldies and even gives off an odour which prompts the birds to stay away. This observer replaced his Nyjer stock and noted a return of birds. A garden with just a line of Lavender plants, with seed heads in place, was visited by a flock. Worth repeating the wildlife gardening mantra of 'keep your heads' as distinct from the tidy gardener who is 'off with their heads', when it comes to garden perennials and herbs.
I myself had a few Goldies, building up to six this winter, relying mainly on Peanuts and naturally occurring Teasel for food: the Goldies have since moved on and I have reverted to Nyjer seed in an effort to get them back, time will tell!
|Pix, c. OOS|