The Beak of the Lesser Goldfinch

I quietly snapped this photo of a female lesser goldfinch from inside my house, from a window looking into my back yard.  Note the dandelion seed in its beak. Sunday brunch!

Check out the notched tail, white undertail coverts, and light streaking along the breast and flank.

Over the years that I have gardened, I have tried to balance my wishes for a relatively clean garden (as much as that is reasonable) with creating a space that serves the needs of the non-plant inhabitants of the garden.

I am always immensely thrilled when I have such lovely birds visit my garden (beyond my usual crows, house finches, mourning doves, northern mockingbirds, and the like, who are also very welcomed).

My backyard is sizable enough that weeds are something that I have to manage throughout the year. But during the winter, I do allow them to grow a bit more because weeds, when allowed to grow a bit taller, create a food source and haven for birds that would not otherwise find their way to my garden during any other time of the year. The weeds do not last forever (thankfully), so when they start to die out, I remove the above-ground vegetation, followed by a few sprays of Roundup.

Similarly, if a rose plant meets an untimely end, I keep the defunct plant in-ground for at least a few months because I have observed many small birds still enjoying it.

Clearly, gardens are not just for the benefit and enjoyment of their human caretakers!


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