We live up the hill from you in Marlboro. Goldfinches have been present year round over all those years, but to varying degrees during the winter. This winter we have a daily party of six, which went up to fifteen during the ice storm, and then dropped back again. Aside from the regulars at or under our feeder, I hear other small bands moving about the weedy edges of our large meadow and in yellow birch canopies in surrounding woods, picking seeds from the tiny female “cones” still high in the trees. I’ve seen them eating blue vervain, smartweed, and various other seedy wildflowers and they’re particular fans of evening primrose’s abundant capsules of nutritious poppy-sized seeds. I offer strictly black oil sunflower seeds which all of our songbirds and woodpeckers seem to prefer.
Others in Marlboro have reported large flocks of goldfinches at their feeder’s this week, that waxed and waned with the icing. The more heavily visited feeders seem to be in areas with more houses and neighborhood feeders, where our neighborhood is less so.
If you or any other VTBird folks in the Brattleboro area are on Facebook and are interested, I invite you to join the Marlboro BIRDS page, which I started two years ago as a community site for sharing sitings, insights, and questions.
> On Jan 2, 2020, at 3:57 PM, Janet Warren <jwarren...> wrote:
> We’ve had a flock for about 2 months and they seem to stick around, no matter the weather. We have several tube feeders and we fill them with hulled sunflower seed which is the Goldfinch food of choice here. I was given a small pottery feeder for Christmas and filled it with niger seen. So far, no Goldfinch seems interest in it. In the summer, I plant a “weed” called salsify for it’s fall seeds that form an umbrella shape similar to dandelion, but much prettier. Unfortunately, the Goldfinches love the seeds even before they are formed, such is their passion for them.
>> On Jan 2, 2020, at 10:11 AM, Ralph Palmer <palmer.r.violin...> wrote:
>> Greetings -
>> My wife and I were on a road trip this fall, and didn't get to set out our
>> feeders until the middle of November, when most birds here seem to have set
>> up their winter feeding routes. We gradually started seeing some Juncos,
>> then some other birds we're used to, but no Goldfinches. Then, earlier this
>> week, we had a couple of days with freezing rain, and we suddenly had a
>> dozen or more Goldfinches for extended (at least 15 or 20 minutes) periods
>> of time. So I thought maybe they had finally discovered (through searches
>> founded in necessity) our thistle feeder and added us to their feeding
>> route. However, once the freezing rain disappeared, so (it seems) have the
>> Two quick questions:
>> 1) Have others on this list had similar experiences? and
>> 2) Does anyone know what food source the Goldfinches may have temporarily
>> lost due to the freezing rain? I'm afraid I don't know much about the
>> Goldfinches' normal diet, especially in the winter.
>> Thanks for your attention and any responses,
>> Ralph Palmer
>> Brattleboro, VT
>> (he, him, his)