Goldfinch,Carduelis carduelis

Photograph of a pair of goldfinch specimens on a branch

Learning Officer Roz Wade writes:

I have always found solace in nature, and find myself turning to the natural world more and more for support during lockdown. Every morning I watch the birds, twenty minutes of calm that sets me up for a busy day of home working. I love the mellow song of the blackbirds, the bobbing flight of the long tailed tits, and even the sight of a woodpigeon overwhelming the bird bath. Lately I’ve enjoyed watching the blackbirds and great tits feeding chicks almost as big as themselves. But perhaps my favourite birds right now, the ones that really bring joy to my heart, are the goldfinches.

I see them most mornings, usually two of them, coming to the feeders or clambering through the leaves in the cherry tree. They have been particularly enjoying the niger seed and sunflower seed hearts in the bird feeders. The illustrations in bird guides and other books seldom do these delicate litttle birds justice: their red face, pale chest, dark wing tips and bright streak of yellow on the wings that takes on its full glory when in flight, showing that they really are golden.

I have signed up to the BTO Garden Birdwatch scheme, to add my sightings to their long-running citizen science project. The Garden Birdwatch has been running for 25 years, and has found a huge increase in the number of sightings of goldfinches in gardens during that time. It seems that by providing food in our gardens is supporting this species in the UK.

When I go back to the Museum, I will look on our goldfinch specimens in a new light, as these little treasures have given me so much joy during these difficult times. I can see now why the collective noun for a group of goldfinches is a charm.

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