Shortly after moving to the country we saw several Eastern Gold Finches fly through our back yard. We decided to try putting out a feeder to attract them and were rewarded with many summer visitors.
We began with one simple thistle feeder and were so fascinated with the activity and gentle song of these birds that we now put out several feeders. We enjoy the quiet good nature of these visitors and at times have counted as many as 30 at a time on the feeders and surrounding branches. We fill our feeders with Sunflower Hearts and Niger Thistle seed.
We also see many House Finches, which look a little like a Common Sparrow, with some reddish purple on their head. Like all bird feeders we are plagued with the common Sparrow that throws seed all over and make a general nuisance of themselves. Here are a couple more photos of these very pretty birds.
Photos by Sandy Breyfogle
We get quite a bit of wind out our way so at times these little guys struggle to hold on to the feeder. There is a constant, but very dignified battle to control the top perch by the male. Unlike the Sparrow, the Goldfinch eats quietly, one seed at a time.
The Iowa Legislature designated the Eastern Goldfinch, also known as the Wild Canary, as the official state bird in 1933. It was chosen as the state bird because it is commonly found in Iowa and often stays through the winter. The flight pattern of this bird has been described as a roller coaster or an undulating motion. Here is a close-up photo of this very showy bird.