Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I didn't know anything about my backyard birds until I hung up a bird feeder.   Among all of the colorful birds that appeared, my favorite was the canary yellow goldfinch (the males are yellow with highlights of black and the females are brown).  It didn't seem possible that such colorful birds could have lived in my garden for thirty years without my ever having seen them!

The transferware connection is one of my favorite patterns:  The Goldfinch.   A bird sits on a branch surround by roses, convolvulus, and other flowers.  I learned that the goldfinch printed on the plate is an English or European goldfinch which has white feathers decorated with highlights of yellow, black and beige. Its head is capped with red. The goldfinch in my garden is an American goldfinch which is mainly gold with accents of black and white.  I fed my goldfinches for about a year.  I would have fed them forever, but the squirrels arrived.  I added a dome over the bird feeder (see the photo I took from my kitchen window) which was supposed to discourage the squirrels.  It did not.  They learned to climb the side of my house and leap onto the bird feeder!  Still, I like squirrels, so I purchased more bird food.  Then the rats appeared.  Many of them.  I felt I had created a health hazard rather than a bird environment, so I removed the feeder.  Sadly.

I did learn a lot about California native birds, squirrels and their persistence, and rats.  I may also have learned a life lesson.  If you put out a bird feeder, you don't always know who will come.  Or how it will turn out.
"The Goldfinch" 9.75" plate, circa 1820, maker unknown

Bird feeder outside my kitchen window.  There are two goldfinches feeding, but they are hard to see.  Notice the dome over the feeder.

American Goldfinch

English Goldfinch


  1. We have a plant growing all around our house which Koreans (like my wife) eat in the spring-they pick the leaves when still tender. By the end of summer, the plant is almost 6 feet tall, with lots of yellow daisy-like flowers on it. We then get loads of Goldfinches eating the seeds. Other animals, like squirrels are not interested in them. Unfortunately, I don't know what the scientific name of this plant is-it's native to the area, and grows around river banks.

    1. You are so lucky to see lots of goldfinches. Are they English or American goldfinches?

  2. American ones-the males blend right in with the flowers.