In the Spring, male Goldfinches are bright yellow with black streaks along their wings. Females are drab in comparison but show some yellow and the same dark striping along their sides. This morning the individuals in this flock all look pretty much the same. The non-birders call them”wild canaries.” That’s fine with me.
The domestic canary (Serinus canaria domestica) sings a loud warbling song while the wild goldfinch (Spinus tristis) settles for a short, musical chirping which passes for a song. Both species look great in sunlight. Their yellow feathers shine.
Years ago, in the early morning, as light began to stream in through my window, I used to have to cover with a heavy blanket the nesting pairs of canaries which lived in three cages in my dormitory room. Otherwise, the competing canary songs would make it impossible for me to sleep. I made them believe that it was suddenly evening again, so they went to sleep.
This morning’s Goldfinch convention was the first sign of flocking that I have noticed. Here it is September 6 and I should expect that from now on I’m going to see the finch families grouping up.
The goldfinches will leave soon. The juncos (snowbirds) will arrive; the house sparrows will stay and along with the cardinals, they will flock together. After all they are finches. Theyall eat seeds, live close to the ground, and flit and bob here and there as they fly. So, what t’heck why not flock in peace.
I love the change of seasons. The absence of territorial bird song in the mornings and the thinning out of the species just offers me an opportunity to see flocking again.