Blizzards and winter storms are buffeting the Midwest and East. In California, we have our own February flurries. Finches.
We got started feeding finches a few years ago when I made an innocent visit to the Wild Bird store. We started with a small tube having a single perch. In an effort to keep the feeder full more of the time, we upgraded to a bigger feeder with 5 perches, then one with ten. Still the feeder emptied, so we added feeders. We learned slowly … bigger feeders don’t just mean more seeds. They mean more finches eating more seeds. Finally, after the addition of the fifth 20-perch feeder we decided the economics of more was not sustainable. The finches would have to make do with 100 perches.
We typically see Amercian Goldfinches and Lesser Goldfinches. In the winter these two species are pretty tough to tell apart. The finch flying in this picture appears to be an American Goldfinch based on the light patch at the base of its wing – one of the few really distinctive winter differences.
We have some finches all winter, but do get more starting in February when the days are warmer. We currently have a flock of hundreds eating from our feeders. We live in an older neighborhood with large trees. The flocks arrive in those trees in the morning shortly after sunrise then gradually drop down to eat at the feeders in our birch trees. They are usually gone by around 3 or 4 pm. The finches stay in this area until the weather gets hot, then they head north. We don’t usually see finches again until September or October.