Monday, November 22, 2010

The Finch, The Finch, The Finch is Back

I've written here before about how much Clint and I enjoy feeding and watching the birds around the house. The truth is that we are closet zealots. We actually call or text one another if something particularly birdy happens around the homestead.

We've become distraught, then, at the gradual disappearance of our American Goldfinches and House Finches. Since we moved in the feeders have been chockful of birds. So many tiny talons in the fabric eventually created big holes in the thistle socks, and I recently had to replace them.

The sock feeders I originally had were white, and the netting soft. My cheap replacements were brittle, and had birds and flowers printed on the sides.

Alas, our finch population decreased immediately. We pondered that it was late-summer, thistle was easily found in its natural habitat, and the birds would return when it wasn't so readily available. But no. In time, our feeders became finchy ghost-towns. I developed my own theory that they didn't like the ink on the printed feeders, and finally got around to purchasing and hanging the slightly more expensive ($6 each), softer feeders.

For two weeks, nothing. Clint and I both turned into Finch Fretters. Maybe we should put ONE printed feeder back up and see if one or the other draw a finch or two back? I put on a brave front and declared that they'd temporarily moved on, and once one or two found us again, the word would get out: Thistle Feast at The Country Casa!

That's exactly how it happened. I looked outside one day last week to see 2 of them. I had, of course, to text Clint right away. By Saturday, birdies were fighting for a spot, both feeders were full all day long:

To boot, Saturday seemed to be Robin migration day. It's surprising that they're still in town, but the Birds of Illinois book we have indicates they'll stick around through late November/early December. We had an entire flock stop at the Country Casa B&B  (Birdbath & Breakfast), before heading South.

Ooo, I'll miss them. Hearts & gaits become lighter when they appear in spring.

In the meantime, I'm gearing up to keep all of their cousins fed & fat through the winter: 5-gallon buckets are full, and the binoculars are at the ready. As much as I grumble about the cold, winter after winter, my birdy babies are somehow always a source of consolation.


  1. "The finch, the finch, the finch is back"?
    I can't believe you said that.

  2. I've been singing it for 3 days.

  3. Anonymous6:54 AM

    I'm always amazed at the bird that don't migrate from here. If I were a finch or a chickadee or anything else for that matter I'd get the hell out before -30 weather. And yet the survive... And whoever came up with the expression to eat like a bird is an idiot. It's amazing the amount of sunflower seed they get through.

    I wonder if we'll get redpolls this winter. They come "south" from the arctic for the winter. I guess everything is relative.

    - Jazz

  4. What is that on the ground on the right in that last picture?

  5. Jazz, I had to look up a redpoll. Purtyyyyy, I want! It does seem like those birds would freeze right through. I read about some of them needing 1000 calories/hour to survive. And yet they stay so slim.

    Geewits: Good eye; I didn't think it would show up on the blog, so I didn't mention it. It's a woodpecker of some sort, I haven't found exactly which yet.

  6. Our finches don"t like our thistle finch feeders either... (Now say THAT five times fast...) But they DO love our big-bird black oil sunflower seed feeders... which they're not supposed to... It's all very confusing...

    We get the goldfinches and the ones with the little red hats... help me out here...


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