Finch Variations Battle for Place at the Table

March and early April north of Atlanta are proving colder and wetter than previous years but several warm days this past week provided an opportunity to capture images of goldfinches and house finches. Both relish tiny, black “nyjer” seed that last fall few birds would touch.

Colorful Goldfinches are easy to spot.

House Finches are brown and white with a touch of red and often are confused with House Sparrows. But according to on-lines sources, the finches have larger, thicker beaks than the sparrows. Also, the beaks of the sparrows are smaller and usually black or yellow. I believe the ones visiting my feeder and included in this series are, in fact, finches.

One of each variation mostly seem content to share feeder perches. They’ll peck away at the seed for great lengths of time, one tolerant of the other.

But, as the next two images illustrate, monopolization by the Goldfinches quickly is overcome by the House Finches — and vice versa. These back-and-forth battles can go on for some time.

Photographers generally prefer birds posing in natural environments rather than on feeders. These two Goldfinches were accommodating as they observed the feeder before deciding it was safe to approach it.

But so far, photo opportunities at the feeder far outnumber those au naturale.