|Cirsium arvense (Canada Thistle)
Photo by J. Harrington
It always throws off my sense of where we are in the seasons when I encounter the goldfinch cycle. Ducks and geese nested back in April or so. Now, in mid-Summer, ducklings and goslings are changing from downy fuzz to feathers about the same time that goldfinches are nesting. Clearly, in Nature, there's no such thing as "one size fits all."
|male American Goldfinch, on railing (Chickadee at feeder)|
Photo by J. Harrington
I had lost track of the goldfinch - thistle-seed-and-down relationship, and how that affects the timing of goldfinch nesting, until I came across it the other evening while re-reading Jan Zita Grover's Northern Waters. Her "memoir" about life, fish and fly-fishing is an enjoyable read, especially if you're passionately involved in any of those three themes (and I sincerely hope you are, at least in the first). We have goldfinches at our feeders basically year round and their colors brighten noticeably come Spring. I obviously fell for the sequence of the children's rhyme from my youth, about "First comes Love," then marriage (mating) and then baby carriages (nests and nestlings) and assumed that mating and nesting came soon after Spring's mating colors. My bad.
By John Poch
God knows the law of life is death,and you can feel it in your warbler neck,your river-quick high stick wristat the end of day. But the trophies:a goldfinch tearing up a pink thistle,a magpie dipping her wing tipsin a white cloud, an ouzel barrelinghip-high upstream with a warning.You wish you had a river. To makea river, it takes some mountains.Some rain to watershed. You wishyou had a steady meadow and pink thistlesbobbing at the border for your horizons,pale robins bouncing their good posturesin the spruce shadows. Instead, the lawof life comes for you like three menand a car. In your dreams, you win them overwith your dreams: a goldfinch tearing upa pink thistle. A magpie so slowshe knows how to keep death at bay,she takes her time with argumentand hides her royal blue in black.Shy as a blue grouse, nevertheless Goddoesn’t forget his green mountains.You wish you had a river.
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.