Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Wild Canary

Give us a song

Female at the end of winter

The American Goldfinch is often referred to as the Wild Canary.  A pretty fitting name for these backyard songbirds, not only for the lovely notes that they fill the air with, but also the bright yellow plumage of the summer.  Right now these feathered friends are going to enter their autumn molt, when their feathers become more drab and muted for the winter months.  Partly this has to do with the diet of the season, as summer months offer seeds loaded with beta carotene.  This summer we have not had the usual feeders outside, so I have been missing watching these guys eat their breakfast out the window as I prepare my own morning meal. 

But here are some old photos I have taken outside my kitchen window over a couple seasons.  These guys are easy to attract with a bird feeder and are very social, so if you see one pair...just wait will likely see several more pairs!  (I once counted almost two dozen in our tree one year during a cold snap.  They all came to the feeder because birds need to eat more during very cold weather in order to keep their body temperature up.)  Nothing can keep me behind the lens like backyard birds!

Male finch with bright colors in spring

By Ann T. Gilbert, 1827

Great Giver of all good,
To Thee our thanks we yield
For all the beauties of the wood,
Of hill, and dale, and field.

Ten thousand various flowers
To Thee sweet offerings bear,
And joyous birds in woodlands bowers
Sing forth Thy tender care.

The fields on every side
The trees on every hill,
The glorious sun, the rolling tide,
Proclaim Thy wonders still.

But trees, and fields, and skies
Female looking brighter with spring
Still praise a God unknown;
For gratitude and love can rise
From living hearts alone.

These living hearts of ours
Thy holy name would bless;
The blossoms of the thousand flowers
Would please the Savior less.

While earth itself decays,
Our souls can never die;
O tune them all to sing Thy praise
In better songs on high.

Female on a snowy winter morning

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