Goldfinches - the American ones
Our American Goldfinches are a little gift every year at this time. You see, although they only have one brood of young per year, they do so much later than our other annual breeders. Their breeding season is meant to occur at the time when the seed crops (thistle) that they favor are in full glory. And the reason for this? They are one of the only birds in N. America that eats a strictly vegetarian diet - no insects for these little gems. They feed their fledglings regurgitated seeds rather than insects. I actually got a shot today of a male feeding a youngster some "pureed" seeds but the image was pretty crappy so I will try again another day.
Here you have two juvenile birds who are learning to eat on their own. There were four of them in a patch of echinacea (a favorite food) when an adult flew in and landed nearby which set of a frenzy of begging. You can see the youngster on the left with wings aflutter. Interestingly, the youngster on the right does not have any visible wing bars. This is something I've not seen before so I'll be sending a few pictures off to some birder friends to get their take on the lack of markings.
Gym today - yay, me.
The little monarch cat that I rescued yesterday is looking much better today and is eating non-stop. Fingers crossed that nothing has parasitized him. I'll be feeding him the best, most tender milkweed I can find to try to get him fattened up. He's going to be a butterfly rather late in the season, so we'll see...
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