Aug 09 2008
Mrs. Goldfinch came off her nest last weekend for a visit to my thistle feeder and some unusual acrobatics.
I have an upside-down plastic thistle feeder with holes positioned so that a bird must hang upside down from the perches to eat from it. This means only goldfinches can use it because they’re the only bird who can do that – or so it said on the box.
Two weeks after hanging it in my back year, the house sparrows figured out how to fall forward from the perches and grab the tube with one outspread wing, giving them enough stability to eat upside down and empty the feeder.
The only birds that were thwarted were the house finches who fell off every time they rotated down toward the hole. For several years they ate by hovering like hummingbirds but this summer one of them learned the goldfinch trick and happily eats niger seed now.
Which brings me to Mrs. Goldfinch.
Last Saturday she came to the feeder when all the perches were available but instead of hanging upside down she chose a hole above and to the right. Standing on her left foot she wrapped her body around the feeder and reached up. She then hung from the hole by her beak and used her tongue to shovel seeds into her mouth. Her right foot had nowhere to stand so it groped for purchase on the slippery tube.
For a moment I thought she was stuck there, but soon she flew away.
I wish I had a picture of her acrobatics. Chuck Tague’s photo and your imagination will have to do. I can see Chuck doesn’t make his goldfinches work hard for their dinner.