Our gator adventure has been keeping me from using my bench, but we still have lots of birds to watch. Just from a safer distance. In Birdwatching At Home – Maybe I, I explained why I haven’t used my bench too much yet. The talk of the neighborhood, “our own gator,” brings visitors to the water. As I mentioned before, we don’t get to see it most of the time because of the embankment.
When he [or she] moves more to the middle of the water, then we get to see it. When we came home from church, Sunday (5-17), there he was. We both grabbed our cameras, which we now keep at the table by the door. Here is what I saw:
Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.
Then I zoomed in on what he was taking a photo of:
What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20
We still have that Variant House Finch stopping by. He feeds at the feeder up by the door. Much safer there. The sun was shining brightly, and it made him almost glow. Here a few I took a few days ago:
Variant House Finch 5-14-20
Variant House Finch 5-14-20
Variant House Finch 5-14-20
Also recently, the three species I mentioned in the first post, we spotted though the door on May 16th. Here are a few more closeups:
Great Blue Heron close up
“And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:19 KJV) – Don’t Eat List
Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S – Sandhill Crane in foreground
Great Egret 5-16-20
I know these are not the greatest photos, but I sure do enjoy seeing so many interesting birds to watch, and even the alligator. Stay tuned for a video I shot this morning.
Once there were two finches named Ted and Red who were brothers. They lived in two trees that had been planted next to each other. Their trees were in a courtyard by a museum, which provided them with plenty of shade because Florida was almost always hot. Both birds had many friends in the courtyard.
The birds spent most of their time flying around the beaches and hectic streets searching for food or just having fun watching the different tourists around the coast. Many times, people on the dock would feed them breadcrumbs.
But as summer came, the days grew hotter and longer, and there were many rainy days. Ted and Red stayed in their nests most of the time under the protection of their large shady trees. Their friends stayed in their little homes too: the fish remained comfortable in their pond, the two cranes who lived nearby nestled in their nests in the bushes, and the black snake stayed in his small hole in the grass.
House Finch Resting
One day when there wasn’t much rain, Red went out to search for some food. While he was gone, the clouds grew black, and Red knew he needed to hurry home. However, when he reached the courtyard, the rain poured down harder, and Red couldn’t see very well. He flew toward a light that he saw up ahead and accidentally flew into the museum, sliding across the slippery floor. Red knocked against a small object, sending it crashing to the ground. An alarm went off somewhere, and Red quickly flew back outside and into his nest, where he told Ted what had happened. The rain slowly lessened, and the alarm stopped. Several museum employees had to clean up the mess. Red felt terrible for breaking the vase, but Ted and their friends told him it was an accident and it wasn’t his fault.
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) by Raymond Barlow
Just then, another alarm went off, and someone ran out of one of the entrances, holding a large vase. Ted, Red, and their friends thought fast. The fish quickly pointed to the machine that visitors inserted quarters into to obtain fish food to throw to the fish. Ted and Red flew against it and beat on it with their feet as hard as they could, while the two cranes beat their wings against it. The black snake followed behind the man in case he turned around, hoping that the man would be too scared to step over him. The fish food spilled across the walkway, and the man stealing the vase fell over, while the security guards ran after him and caught him. The security guards were afraid to step over the black snake too. Ted and Red flew back into their nests. Red felt much better afterwards, knowing that he made up for his earlier mistake.
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) by Ian
Ted and Red spent the rest of their summer with their friends in the courtyard. From then on, whenever it rained Ted and Red were careful to stay in their comfortable nests. To their friends, they were now considered honorary security guards.
What an interesting story, Emma. I trust our readers enjoy it as much as I do. The teamwork of this mixture of critters reminds us of how, as Christians, we work together, even though we have different gifts. The seems to blend us together to accomplish His Will.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 ESV)
“The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:16 NKJV)
Recently a friend posted a video of beautifully colored Finches. They didn’t tell what they were and others were writing and asking where they were from. So, after posting it to my page, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about the beautiful creations from our Lord.
Here is the link to that video. Animal & Nature page on Facebook. WordPress can’t insert it.
The video below is by LesleytheBirdNerd on YouTube and she explains much about the colorful finches:
“The Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae), also known as the Lady Gouldian finch, Gould’s finch or the rainbow finch, is a colourful passerine bird which is native to Australia.
Both sexes are brightly coloured with black, green, yellow, and red markings. The females tend to be less brightly coloured. One major difference between the sexes is that the male’s chest is purple, while the female’s is a lighter mauve.
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Africaddict
Gouldian finches are about 125–140 mm long. Gouldian finches’ heads may be red, black, or yellow. Formerly considered three different kinds of finches, it is now known that these are colour variants that exist in the wild. Selective breeding has also developed mutations (blue, yellow and silver instead of a green back) in both body and breast colour.
Outside the breeding season, Gouldian finches often join mixed flocks consisting of long-tailed finches and masked finches. Flocks can consist of up to 1,000–2,000 individuals. During the breeding season, they are normally found on rough scree slopes where vegetation is sparse. In the dry season, they are much more nomadic and will move to wherever there food and water can be found.” [Wikipedia with editing]
I wonder if the Lord thought that having “little rainbows” [Gouldian Finches] down here, might help us remember his promise? The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
(Genesis 9:16 NKJV)
“And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21)
It was Charles Darwin’s assumption that new species arose from previous ones by a process of natural selection. Darwin famously illustrated this point by reference to the various species of finch living on the Galapagos Islands.
Darwin’s finches recently received a new airing when a study about a new finch species appearing on the island of Daphne Major was published. Prior to the study, the island had three species of finch. A new bird was observed, which was larger than members of the existing species. Later genetic testing indicated that the bird had come from Española island, 62 miles to the southeast. Because this new bird had no other member of its species with which to mate, it mated with a bird from one of the existing species. The offspring of this so-called “Big Bird Lineage” was followed for six generations. After only two generations, sufficient changes were seen for a new species to be defined. A popular science website comments on these reports, stating, “The majority of these lineages have gone extinct but some may have led to the evolution of contemporary species.”
The problem is that the word evolution is here describing the change of species within an animal kind. This is not what we really mean by evolution when we expect to see new genetic information formed. What we have actually seen is finches changing into finches. Such variations within a kind are normal and biblically expected. This is not genuine Darwinian evolution.
Thank You, Lord, that Your word is true and that all that we study in science makes sense in the light of Your word. Amen.
American Goldfinch of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
From col. F. M. Woodruff.Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
THE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.
“Look, Mamma, look!” cried a little boy, as one day late in June my mate and I alighted on a thistle already going to seed. “Such a lovely bird! How jolly he looks, with that black velvet hat drawn over his eyes!”
“That’s a Goldfinch,” replied his mamma; “sometimes called the Jolly Bird, the Thistle Bird, the Wild Canary, and the Yellow Bird. He belongs to the family of Weed Warriors, and is very useful.”
“He sings like a Canary,” said Bobbie. “Just hear him talking to that little brown bird alongside of him.”
That was my mate, you see, who is rather plain looking, so to please him I sang my best song, “Per-chic-o-ree, per-chic-o-ree.”
“That sounds a great deal better,” said Bobbie; “because it’s not sung by a little prisoner behind cage bars, I guess.”
“It certainly is wilder and more joyous,” said his mamma. “He is very happy just now, for he and his mate are preparing for housekeeping. Later on, he will shed his lemon-yellow coat, and then you won’t be able to tell him from his mate and little ones.”
“How they are gobbling up that thistle-down,” cried Bobbie. “Just look!”
“Yes,” said his mamma, “the fluff carries the seed, like a sail to which the seed is fastened. By eating the seed, which otherwise would be carried by the wind all over the place, these birds do a great amount of good. The down they will use to line their nests.”
“How I should like to peep into their nest,” said Bobbie; “just to peep, you know; not to rob it of its eggs, as boys do who are not well brought up.”
My mate and I were so pleased at that, we flew off a little way, chirping and chattering as we went.
“Up and down, up and down,” said Bobbie; “how prettily they fly.”
“Yes,” said his mamma; “that is the way you can always tell a Goldfinch when in the air. A dip and a jerk, singing as he flies.”
“What other seeds do they eat, mamma?” presently asked Bobbie.
“The seeds of the dandelion, the sunflower, and wild grasses generally. In the winter, when these are not to be had, the poor little fellows have a very hard time. People with kind hearts, scatter canary seed over their lawns to the merry birds for their summer songs, and for keeping down the weeds.”
CCORDING to one intelligent observer, the Finches are, in Nature’s economy, entrusted with the task of keeping the weeds in subjection, and the gay and elegant little Goldfinch is probably one of the most useful, for its food is found to consist, for the greater part, of seeds most hurtful to the works of man. “The charlock that so often chokes his cereal crops is partly kept in bounds by his vigilance, and the dock, whose rank vegetation would, if allowed to cast all its seeds, spread barrenness around, is also one of his store houses, and the rank grasses, at their seeding time, are his chief support.” Another writer, whose study of this bird has been made with care, calls our American Goldfinch one of the loveliest of birds. With his elegant plumage, his rhythmical, undulatory flight, his beautiful song, and his more beautiful soul, he ought to be one of the best beloved, if not one of the most famous; but he has never yet had half his deserts. He is like the Chickadee, and yet different. He is not so extremely confiding, nor should I call him merry. But he is always cheerful, in spite of his so-called plaintive note, from which he gets one of his names, and always amiable. So far as I know, he never utters a harsh sound; even the young ones asking for food, use only smooth, musical tones. During the pairing season, his delight often becomes rapturous. To see him then, hovering and singing,—or, better still, to see the devoted pair hovering together, billing and singing,—is enough to do even a cynic good. The happy lovers! They have never read it in a book, but it is written on their hearts:
“The gentle law that each should be
The other’s heaven and harmony.”
In building his nest, the Goldfinch uses much ingenuity, lichens and moss being woven so deeply into the walls that the whole surface is quite smooth. Instead of choosing the forks of a bough, this Finch likes to make its nest near the end of a horizontal branch, so that it moves about and dances up and down as the branch is swayed by the wind. It might be thought that the eggs would be shaken out by a tolerably sharp breeze, and such would indeed be the case, were they not kept in their place by the form of the nest. On examination, it will be seen to have the edge thickened and slightly turned inward, so that when the nest is tilted on one side by the swaying of the bough, the eggs are still retained within. It is lined with vegetable down, and on this soft bed repose five pretty eggs, white, tinged with blue, and diversified with small grayish purple spots.
A curious story is told of a caged Goldfinch, which in pleasant weather always hung in a window. One day, hearing strange bird voices, the owner looked up from her seat and saw a Catbird trying to induce the Finch to eat a worm it had brought for it. By dint of coaxing and feeding the wild bird, she finally induced it to come often to the window, and one day, as she sat on the porch, the Catbird brought a berry and tried to put it into her mouth. We have often seen sparrows come to the window of rooms where canaries were imprisoned, but it has uniformly been to get food and not to administer it. The Catbird certainly thus expressed its gratitude.
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.—Spinus tristis. Other names: “Yellow-bird,” “Thistle-bird.”
Range—Eastern North America; breeds from South Carolina to southern Labrador; winters from the northern United States to the Gulf.
Nest—Externally, of fine grasses, strips of bark and moss, thickly lined with thistle down; in trees or bushes, five to thirty feet up.
Eggs—Three to six, pale bluish white.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) on Thistle by Fenton
Therefore I love Your commandments Above gold, yes, above fine gold. (Psalms 119:127 NASB)
The American Goldfinch is a member of the Fringillidae – Finches Family. It is alway a joy to see them come to my feeders.
The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), also known as the Eastern Goldfinch and Wild Canary, is a small North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from mid-Alberta to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter.
The American Goldfinch male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months, while the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate.
The American Goldfinch is a granivore and created for the consumption of seedheads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seedheads while feeding. It is a social bird, and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating. It may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. Its breeding season is tied to the peak of food supply, beginning in late July, which is relatively late in the year for a finch. This species is generally monogamous, and produces one brood each year.
The American Goldfinch is a small finch, 4.3–5.5 in (11–14 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 7.5–8.7 in (19–22 centimeters). The beak is small, conical, and pink for most of the year, but turns bright orange with the spring molt in both sexes. The shape and size of the beak aid in the extraction of seeds from the seed heads of thistles, sunflowers, and other plants.
The American Goldfinch undergoes a molt in the spring and autumn, which it undergoes twice a year. During the winter molt it sheds all its feathers; in the spring, it sheds all but the wing and tail feathers, which are dark brown in the female and black in the male. The markings on these feathers remain through each molt, with bars on the wings and white under and at the edges of the short, notched tail. The plumage coloration is especially pronounced after the spring molt, when the bright color of the male’s summer plumage is needed to attract a mate.
Once the spring molt is complete, the body of the male is a brilliant lemon yellow with a striking jet black cap and white rump that is visible during flight.] The female is mostly brown, lighter on the underside with a yellow bib. After the autumn molt, the bright summer feathers are replaced by duller plumage, becoming buff below and olive-brown above, with a pale yellow face and bib. The autumn plumage is almost identical in both sexes, but the male has yellow shoulder patches. In some winter ranges, the goldfinches lose all traces of yellow, becoming a predominantly medium tan-gray color with an olive tinge evident only on close viewing.
The immature American Goldfinch has a dull brown back, and the underside is pale yellow. The shoulders and tail are dull black with buff-colored, rather than white, markings on wings and rump. This coloration is the same in both genders.
The song of the American Goldfinch is a series of musical warbles and twitters, often with a long note. A tsee-tsi-tsi-tsit call is often given in flight; it may also be described as per-chic-o-ree. While the female incubates the eggs, she calls to her returning mate with a soft continuous teeteeteeteete sound. The young begin to use a call of chick-kee or chick-wee shortly before fledging, which they use until they have left the nest entirely. There are two defense calls made by adults during nesting; a sweeet call made to rally other goldfinches to the nest and distract predators, and a bearbee used to signal to the nestlings to quiet them and get them to crouch down in the nest to become less conspicuous.
(Wikipedia with editing)
American Goldfinch song from xeno-canto by Andrew Spencer
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.