Today the birch is covered in Goldfinches.
I had noticed a pair fluttering around the birches all spring. They must have raised a family, and the youngsters are just now learning to fly. I counted five goldfinches for sure, but there may have been more. It's a pretty sight, tiny bright yellow birds flitting from branch to branch against the white bark and yellow-green leaves, with occasional brave forays to the power line and back.
I hope George spares the trees, so maybe the family will be back next year.
Goldfinches, incidentally, are the only American songbirds that feed seeds to their chicks. Other songbirds, no matter what the adults eat, feed chicks bugs and worms. I wonder where the goldfinch chicks get enough protein? This habit saves them from cowbirds, because cowbird chicks in a goldfinch nest cannot survive on seeds.
I miss the purple finches from the country house. I got really pissed off one time when I was talking about them at a Mensa dinner, and one of the women there informed me, imperiously, that they weren't purple finches, they were house finches. She'd never seen "my" finches and apparently didn't listen to my description, but she KNEW they were not purple finches, they were house finches, because that's what she had in her back yard "and everyone always confuses them". (It's a little hard to confuse a white belly and a brown belly, lady....)
I was furious with her. She used that tactic where she closed her eyes and pursed her lips and shook her head and wouldn't listen, just kept repeating her line. That always infuriates me.