Nesting Lesser Goldfinches

We have just about every type of bird feeder in our backyard — tube feeders, sock feeders, platform feeders, house feeders, hummer feeders. The one that the birds don’t really pay much attention to are the suet feeders. I have spent a lot of time trying to get them interested, but no luck.

So I have taken to stuffing the hair I get from grooming the dogs into the suet feeders. That, the smaller birds pay attention to. They use it to build their nests.

Last week, it was a female lesser goldfinch who came to fill her beak with as much hair as would fit into it.

Goldfinches are some of the last birds to nest. That makes sense — they have to get the eggs laid, hatched, and the nestlings fledged, all while there are enough late-blooming sunflowers to feed them.

Gathering the hair often involved some contortions. It didn’t bother the goldfinch, though, they are used to hanging upside down to get seeds from sunflowers, and similar plants. Goldfinches at lunch

But it didn’t take her long to get enough to fill her bill, and she flew off. She made a lot of trips to the suet feeder/dog hair dispenser, so I’m hopeful that she nested. I can hardly wait to see the fledglings!

Goldfinches at lunch

Much of Apex trail follows Apex Creek, and so it has lots of stream side plants growing along it. But as I was going back down the trail, I came to an open area. I looked up slope and saw a family of Lesser Goldfinches perched on top of some Canada thistle seed heads. While I watched, the female shredded a seed head. Just beneath her, a fledgling fluttered its wings for attention.

Mama & juv lesser goldfinches-07

Both Lesser and American Goldfinches rely heavily on sunflowers and thistles for both food and nest material.

Mama & juv lesser goldfinches-10

At first, I thought the female was gathering the fluffy seed fibers. But with the fledgling there, that made no sense — they no longer needed a nest.

Male lesser goldfinch on thist-3

If you look carefully in the male’s bill, you can see he has a mouthful of seeds.

The Lesser Goldfinches were having lunch.