Today at Kingsford

American Goldfinch and Black-capped Chickadee

I’ve had a busy few days! I was back in Toronto for a couple of them, for a semi-annual post-surgery doctor’s appointment. I’m now five years post-surgery, and they’ve finally graduated me to annual follow-ups. (For those who are curious, the surgery was to correct a potentially life-threatening condition where I had spontaneous tissue growth in my trachea, and required removal of that section of airway. It was a very formative experience in my life, and has put a lot of things in perspective and influenced me in a lot of ways. I’m appreciative of being able to breathe these days, but the follow-up appointments are still a bit of a pain.)

In addition to that, which had me away from home for two days (Toronto’s no longer just around the corner anymore!), Blackburnian’s mom was up to visit, and I’ve also been rather occupied with the new puppy. We’ve been working on housetraining her, and between that and following her around removing things from her mouth, she’s been requiring a lot of my attention (this doesn’t surprise me, but nonetheless does take up a lot of my time). We took her in to the vet today for her first shots and general vet check. She’s in great health, and was a little angel for the vet, had her nails clipped and got her vaccination without even a whimper, nevermind a fuss. We finally decided to name her Raven, after mulling it over for several days (and the only reason we settled on that now was because we needed to give the vet’s office a name). It seemed appropriate on several levels, the most superficial of course being that she’s black, and we have ravens here (whereas we didn’t back in Toronto).

So with all the goings-on I haven’t had time to formulate a full blog post, though I have a few subjects lined up that will hopefully go up over the next couple days. In the meantime, I’ve been watching the birds at our feeders. The above photo is from a few days ago. I set out the feeder a couple weeks ago, and for a while it sat full of seed, but unvisited. After a bit a chickadee found it, and has been visiting it regularly since. I was pretty pleased to have some bird traffic, but not unsurprised to see that the chickadee was the first to arrive. Perhaps a week or so later, I saw this goldfinch join him at the feeder. In fact, there were two goldfinches, apparently both females; I have never been so excited to see a goldfinch. Admittedly, it was just a matter of time till they showed up, but I was still pleased.

American Goldfinch male and fledglings

Today I noticed a male visiting the feeder. He was in heavy moult, and looking a little ratty in the rainy weather. With him were two recently-fledged juveniles, still tagging along after daddy begging for food. It was fairly obvious that they were fledglings, for one because they would sit beside him fluttering their wings like crazy, and for two because they were chirping and chirping away. It was all the noise they were making that first drew my attention to the window. Dad was quiet, so far as I could tell. It’s about the right time for young goldfinches to be leaving the nest, birds whose eggs were laid back at the beginning of August.

American Goldfinch male and fledglings

Dad spent a lot of time ignoring the youngsters, content to pick through the sunflower seeds while they cheeped away nearby. Eventually they figured out that he wasn’t going to offer them any food, and started poking around on their own. The one on the left figured the feeder out pretty quickly, the one on the right was a little slower to pick up on it. That didn’t stop Lefty from begging from Dad as soon as he happened to look his way, however. Isn’t that sort of what human teenagers do?

American Goldfinch male and fledglings

Righty, still hoping for a handout, Lefty munching away happily on a seed. Besides just their behaviour, however, it’s also obvious they’re young birds for another reason. Although Dad’s wings are looking pretty worn down these days, the tips to his feathers are a crisp white. Mom’s wings would also show white edging. Baby’s feathers, however, have a tan or buff edging to them. This is especially clear in the wing-bars. They’ll retain that colour throughout the winter, so you can pick out the adults from the young-of-the-year when watching the goldfinches at your feeders this winter.


Author: Seabrooke

Author of Peterson Field Guide to Moths. #WriteOnCon Mastermind. Writer of action/thriller SF/F YA. Story junkie. Nature nut. Tea addict. Mother. Finding happiness in the little things. Twitter: @SeabrookeN / @SeabrookeLeckie

2 thoughts on “Today at Kingsford”

  1. Lefty looks so much more dignified once he stops dragging his wings.

    So it’s “Raven”, is it? Perfect for a glossy black female furchild of birder parents. Welcome, Raven!

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