Sunday, August 30, 2009

A papa and a juvenile American Goldfinch dining in a thistle patch…

I was photographing a dragonfly yesterday at VOA, when I heard the happy calls of several American Goldfinches flying overhead. I looked up just in time to watch a small flock of five skim across the field, bobbing up and down in that sweet roller-coaster flight of theirs, only to quickly drop out of sight. As I turned back to the dragonfly, I discovered he too was gone, so I moved on. Walking down the grass corridor, I was flanked on both sides by almost overwhelming meadow sounds--katydids, grasshoppers, and everything else that lives in a meadow in August. I would stop every now and then to listen to their music--so many insects singing out because they could, blending, chirping, singing in waves. Sharp winds were ushering in a cold front, and huge gusts occasionally would roar through the grasses and goldenrod, trying with little effect to drown out the insects' persistent singing in the remaining heat. Even with all that noise, the silver notes of the goldfinches rose above, and as I took the right fork of a path carved through the middle of the meadow, I could tell they were near. Calling back and forth to each other, their cheery “cheer-ee” song kept repeating. I stopped and watched, and then I saw them tucked among the leaves in a thistle patch, three juveniles and two adult males. The babies were sitting on stalks shaking their wings and begging for food, but the papas would have none of it and continued to pluck thin thistle seeds from the flower heads for themselves. I guess today was the day the papas decided the babies were ready to feed themselves, or maybe the dads were just hungry. No females were around. They were probably busy building a nest for a second brood. Goldfinches can nest into September around here.

I'm hungry. Feed me!

I'm hungry. Feed me! Look, I'm shaking my wings!

I'm hungry. Feed me!

I'm hungry. Feed me! I'm still shaking my wings!
Can't you see me?

What? Can't a papa eat in peace every now and then?

This evening while I was making dinner, I heard that familiar call outside my kitchen window, and when I looked out, there they were--another small family of American Goldfinches! The juveniles were flapping their wings and begging for food too. I'm was happy to see a family fledged around here.

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37 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

How 'bout that, Kel???? You have a sweet little Goldfinch family near you. WE have LOTS of them here. I cannot tell who belongs to who --since there are so many. But--they are all just cute as can be!!!! Glad you have them too...
Hugs,
Betsy

Elaine said...

Beautiful, beautiful shots! I like how you got both dad and the youngster in the shots, and the thistles are the perfect background. I love it when we go to the park!

Mary said...

So cute! I don't think I have ever seen young goldfinches before. If I did, I probably thought they were females. What a wonderful backdrop for them.

mick said...

I really like your description of the meadow and the grass and the wind rushing through it. Of course the photos of the birds are really great too. The male is such a beautiful color - we don't have anything like that out here either.

Neil said...

Great series of photos.

holdingmoments said...

Lovely description of natures sounds, walking through the grass Kelly.
And what a handsome chap that Goldfinch is.

Midmarsh John said...

Lovely family portraits and beautiful description. The American Goldfinch has so much more gold than the UK Goldfinch.

Sue said...

Our birds here are gearing up for the coming cold.....no more broods for them.
Now that plants are loaded with seeds, our feeder populations have thinned considerably.

Abraham Lincoln said...

The same kind of thing is happening up here with the same birds. I enjoy them and the sounds they make.

Thanks for your visit to my Pick a Peck of Pixels Blog and for your comment there about the squirrel. Pick a Peck of Pixels

Chris said...

Excellent post Kelly and nice observation. Here we do not see any birds at the moment. I do not know where they all went ;-)

Jayne said...

How sweeeeet! I've never seen the goldfinch babies that small.

Laure Ferlita said...

As usual your word portrait is just as beautiful as your photography. Love those baby shots too!

Steve B said...

It seems that American Goldfinch are very plentiful this year. Love the photos.

JKoenig said...

Hi Kelly,

Your writing always takes me where you are, and then your pictures make it all real. Besides that you made me realize I am probably missing something that is right in front of my nose. I have lots of goldfinch coming and going all the time. So much so that I don't always pay attention to them. I need to look for the babies!

Thanks for the delightful start of a new day!.......Janice

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is so cute.
I remember exactly how the Papa's felt. FEED ME FEED ME!!!!

ShySongbird said...

A really lovely account Kelly and beautifully illustrated as usual. What pretty birds they are, quite different to our Goldfinch.

Matt Latham said...

Very nice - your goldfinch is so much brighter than ours.

Chris Petrak said...

I'm finally getting caught up on my blog following - good series on the goldfinches. Also love the detail of your dragonflies and all - what lens are you using for those?

Deb said...

Your photos are just gorgeous Kelly! I love the sound of the Goldfinch too :-) We find them on the Salvia in the front garden - it's a favourite patch for them.

Connie said...

I don't see how you get the shots you do. I love that you included the surroundings in your bird shots. The birds are so beautiful I sometimes forget how really gorgeous the habitat is also.

Montanagirl said...

Great photos of the Goldfinches. Love the background.

Cathy B. said...

Bonjour Kelly,
Beautiful pictures and great story :-)

Rambling Woods said...

My thistle feeders are busy and I am surprised at how loud the little fledges are. I agree with you. I love to go across the pond and walk though along the woods edge and listen. It's so busy with insects. My husband bought me two birding microphones that sit outside and the speaker is inside so all winter I can hear the birds clearly. At night I sit and listen to the insects. ... Michelle..

George said...

Kelly, you've got some great shots of the goldfinch. We've enoyed watching fledglings around our feeders as well.
Thanks for visiting my site.

Tammie Lee said...

Hi Kelly,
Your photos are so lovely with the birds tucked amongst the thistle flowers.

Warren Baker said...

Your Goldfinch may look a lot different to ours kelly, but it seems they both like to feed on thistles. Do they come to niger seed in feeders lke ours do ?

Jenny said...

Those young Goldfinches are very soft and sweet looking. Lovely fun post Kelly. It brought a big smile to my face. Thanks! (-:

DK Miller said...

Beautiful birds. there are lots of Goldfinch by my work building. I enjoy watching them on the coneflowers. How sweet that you have a family near your place.

Cindy said...

Kelly those are gorgeous photos. I love that little baby Goldfinch he/she is so adorable. I really like all the brush around them too!

BirdingGirl said...

How cool! I wouldn't have expected that. And what cute pictures of the baby :)

Ginnymo said...

How cute!! Great photos Kelly!! I haven't gone out front to take more pics of the Goldfinches. maybe there are young ones here too. I'll have to check soon. But isn't it kind of late?? Although I still see some young birds around.

Dave Lewis said...

just when you think they're out of the nest...they come back for more!
Great post Kelly!

Tabib said...

One hungry baby and one lazy Papa! ;). Nice story.

gwendolen said...

Wonderful story Kelly. The hungy babies made me smile. Life is tough when you are ignored. lol.

Larry said...

Great story Kelly with super captures of the American Goldfinches. I felt like I was walking through the tall grasses myself.

My favorite time of year is when the birds are out with their fledglings, teaching them all about their new surroundings.

BirdingMaine said...

Lovely photo series!

We have a bunch of fledged AMGF that just showed up a few days ago. Full time job keeping the thistle feeder filled.

E said...

Very beautiful, lovely, poetic, tender.
The goldfinch, the bee and flower, all the pics, great!
Congrats, hugs.