Saturday, December 11, 2010

Goldfinches like crabapples too...or at least the seeds inside them!

While the American Robin (from this earlier post) was plucking berries from the tree and swallowing them whole, a sweet little American Goldfinch was employing an entirely different method to get his lunch. He would pierce the skin with his sharp, pointed beak and work through the pulp until he found a seed. He left the remaining skin and pulp on the tree.

An American Goldfinch perched outside my living room window gives me the eye as I photograph him eating the seeds in the crabapples.

...here he is piercing the skin. He then neatly rooted through the pulp until he found a seed.

Here he's getting ready to go back into the crabapple. If you look at all the berries, you can see those he's neatly picked through and left hanging on the branches.

29 comments:

Appalachian Lady said...

Wow-those are great photos. I am glad to see the goldfinches eating the crabapples. I have a tree and it seems no one likes them. Maybe I will look at it more closely now.

Montanagirl said...

Terrific images, Kelly! My photos aren't quite that sharp through double glass doors! You did a great job.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

How neat, Kelly... I had no idea that Goldfinches would eat the seeds from crabapples... I should have known --since they love seeds...You captured some great pictures..

Merry Christmas, my Friend,
Betsy

Beverly said...

Gorgeous photos!!! The color of the crabapples just gives the image a big pop!

Chad said...

I think these birds are so photogenic even when they are not in summer plumage! They have a very soft look about them... lovely!

rebeccainthewoods said...

Interesting - I assume if they're skipping the fruity part and going straight for the seeds, then they're definitely going to digest the seeds, not poop them out in a still-viable form. So they're seed predators, short-circuiting the whole dispersal mechanism that drove the plant to start making the colorful, sweet (??) berries in the first place.

Laure Ferlita said...

AWESOME shots! I am in love with those luscious colors in the berries and the soft plumage of the goldfinches! Just gorgeous.

freebird said...

I love your bird photos! Interesting how one bird eats the whole thing and another doesn't. I wonder if it's a speciea difference or just a bird's preference.

Elva Paulson said...

What lovely shots. I want to plant a crabapple immediatly!

Claire M said...

More AWESOME shots! The bird is so cute! What a treat to peek in on him.

...and just what sort of camera do you have?

Roy said...

Beautiful images Kelly.
They are so much like our female Chaffinch.

Ken. said...

Hi Kelly.
Great Greenfinch photo's. Nice having a crab apple tree in your garden to attract the birds. Have a good weekend.

Out on the prairie said...

I would almost think they would go for the whole thing.Lots of protein in the skin. I noticed many of the thistle are picked clean out on the prairie.

Birding is Fun! said...

Wonderful close-ups. Nice feather detail and colors and cool behavior! Lovin' it!

holdingmoments said...

Beautiful shots Kelly.

You must have very clean windows lol

eileeninmd said...

Wow, gorgeous shots of the Goldfinch. The colors are beautiful.

Jayne said...

How funny to see him ignore the juicy pulp and go right for the seeds!

Lois Evensen said...

What a great series and the explanation of his menu selections.

Just lovely images. Thanks.

Lois

The Early Birder said...

Super shots thro the window. Love the way it looked you in eye Kelly before resuming its berry feast. Hope you are having a relaxing weekend. FAB.

Cherrie said...

Beautiful photos!

dAwN said...

Nice! I haven't seen our goldfinches here going for berries or crab-apples.. We did recently get a few more around the feeders since it became colder.
Happy Birding

grammie g said...

Hi Kelley...another nice one from the window and the crabapple tree!!
Those little goldfinches are so darn cute and sing up a storm!!
Speaking of storms...we have a weather alert for high winds heavy rain and we are a 40 degrees!!
Two days ago it was 12 degrees above ..weird!!

Shelley said...

I love his technique - reminds me of a woodpecker! Cute photos!

Marie said...

Great shots, Kelly, and how awesome to be able to observe this behavior. I also have an ornamental crab apple in front of the house but this one gets blue birds coming in January. Pretty sure they eat 'em whole. Will have to watch the finches a bit closer!

Elaine said...

Beautiful! You are getting a lot of mileage from that crabapple tree.

Kelly said...

Thanks, everyone. It was really cool to watch him picking the seeds out of the crabapple...so neat and efficient! I am getting my milage out of this tree! Right now the berries are all covered in snow. It should be pretty tomorrow, Hopefully a few birds stop by for lunch!

Kay said...

I keep scrolling up and down your post--looking again and again at the photos. They are amazing. That first one, of the "puff ball" is my favorite--everything a photo on a blog should be--at least for me! Every detail takes me on a little trip into the world of that picture.
Kay

Rural Rambler said...

Love those Goldfinches! Beautiful shots Kelly. Our birdies are eating everything in sight!

Naomi Sachs, ASLA said...

WOW! Amazing photos. I hope you're still okay with me using your images once in awhile. I used one of these for today's Therapeutic Landscapes Network Blog post on encouraging birds in the winter garden: http://www.healinglandscapes.org/blog/2010/12/biophilia-winter-wildlife-in-the-healing-garden/.