I photographed this adult and juvenile Goldfinch on my feeder over the past couple of mornings. The sun wasn’t quite up so the light wasn’t as good as I would have liked, and I would have liked to have gotten closer to them, but that’s how it goes sometimes. This is a bold flashy bird with its bright red-head and face spot. It has a black cap and white head, a sharp pale beak, a chestnut patch either side of its breast, tawny back plumage and bright flashes of yellow on the wing feathers. The juvenile has duller wings and a greyish head.
Their long beaks allow them to feed on the seeds of thistles and teasels, in which they are specialists in extraction. They will also visit bird feeders and bird tables, and search for invertebrates at ground level. It breeds in low-lying deciduous woodland, pine plantations and orchards.They form nests made of roots, grass and cobwebs in tree trunks or shrubs. The female lays 5 or 6 eggs in 2 broods from May to July. Goldfinches can live for up to 5 years.
Seen all year round, although many UK Goldfinches will migrate as far south as Spain for warmer climes. Found in wild roughland, wasteland, roadside verges, anywhere there is tall wildflower growth where there are plentiful seeds on which they feed. Also seen in parks and gardens. Common and widespread, except for the far north and west of Scotland.
Photographs of Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), adult and juvenile taken August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.