Familiar Finches

By: Anne Corke

Oct 03 2011

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Category: Rural Nature

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Focal Length:100mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SX10 IS

It’s the end of September and vees of geese are passing over the house, heading south. The hummingbirds have already left for warmer climes. At the birdfeeder, the bluejays have returned as have the nuthatches. One white-crowned sparrow is visiting daily. No doubt others will follow. Our permanent residents are out and about, the chickadees, goldfinches, mourning doves and house finches. And speaking of house finches, we have a little colony of young ones which has made itself right at home here. Their parents were nesting in the euonymus by the front door this summer. The euonymus, which climbs right up to the eaves, provides good cover and is handy to the feeder and the birdbath, making it a premium nesting spot. (Word probably got around that Gary’s a soft touch who feeds all year ’round! Just read though that the price of sunflower seed has doubled so the birds may have to be rationed this winter!) When Mum and Dad Finch kicked the kids out of the nest, they stayed right where they were. I don’t know what’s happening here, but I think this lot is evolving into a domesticated subspecies! They are fond of sitting on the windowsill of the bay window and staring in at us. Just the other day, seven of them were peeking in, craning their necks, checking the place out. I think they have designs on the living room for the winter! In the morning, they sun themselves there, oblivious to us, or the dogs, staring back at them. When we walk past them on the path, they can hardly be bothered to move out of the way. If the garage door is open, they like to hang out in there, too. Twice recently, one of them has spent the night inside when I shut the door not realizing he was still in there! In the morning, he was sitting on the windowsill inside the garage, looking out. He wasn’t particularly upset and let me approach quite close before flying out to have breakfast. This morning, when I returned from an appointment, one of them was waiting for me, and as soon as I opened the garage door, he hopped right in! Of course, the seed is stored in the garage and often there is spillage when I fill the feeder, so in addition to being nice and cozy, it’s also catered! There is one problem though. When the dogs come out to the car, Sophie is always looking for chipmunks and mice, and on one occasion, found a wee finch on the garage floor. In a split second, he was on his way to the big feeder in the sky. Where small scurrying things are concerned, she bites first and asks questions later. But since I usually have her on a short leash, they would appear to have assessed the risk and found it to be minimal. Since we have had an overabundance of chipmunks this year, we have taken to livetrapping them and relocating them to the nearby cemetery. Earlier this week, I set the trap under the lilac. In short order, the trap was sprung. No chipmunk. Just three rather sheepish finches! Actually, we’re becoming quite fond of these little guys. They certainly are amusing to watch and they don’t cause any trouble at the feeder. Perhaps that’s part of their strategy, to lull us into a false sense of security, and when we’re least suspecting it, we’ll open the front door and they’ll storm the place! (If so, they would be wise to reconsider. The last bird that tried that was dispatched in short order by Sophie.)

Copyright 2011 Anne Corke


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