a lifetime burning

By Sheol

The Goldfinch

This one's almost appropriate given that it is World Book Day - with a nod to  "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tart.

Back when we used to put feed out for the birds, there were two main beneficiaries of our largesse.  The first were the pigeons who grew fat on the seed the other birds spilled and generally wore away the grass around the base of the feeder marching back and forth around it.  The second major beneficiaries were the goldfinches, like the one in the picture.  Charms of them would visit several times a day and squabble over who got to go first.

I suspect that, had the winter been particularly hard, we might have relented and put up the feeder, if only to help out during the coldest months.  But as it is, the winter this year was particularly mild.  

The argument against feeding is that a few species are habitual feeders and that by putting out food we are helping those species thrive at the expense of other sub-ordinate species. I know that there are pros and cons, and that to some extent it depends on how urban your environment is (i.e are there other sources of food widely available). I'm not suggesting that you should or shouldn't feed the birds.

I also entirely understand that for many people (particular those stuck at home) watching birds visit the feeder is a joy, and we are a bit short of joy just at the moment in what seems to be an increasingly dark world.

Lest you worry, we still have birds in the garden since deciding not to put up the feeders, but now the ones that do visit feed on the seed heads, fruits and so on that the garden contains.

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