This morning we were out feeding the bees, and suddenly heard a cacophony of birds in the orchard. Looking out toward the aprium tree, I could see two adult Lesser Goldfinches (Spinus psaltria) perched on the edge of the nest we found a couple of weeks ago.
I incorrectly presumed them to be American Goldfinches in my last post about these nesting birds, although having only seen the female, I had my doubts. This morning though I managed to get a good look at both parents side by side, and they’re clearly Lesser Goldfinches, now with FOUR hungry mouths to feed.
Judging by the size of the babies it’s been a little while since they hatched, and they’re looking a little crowded in their tiny, and rather messy, nest.
That’s not all though. I snuck a covert peek around the corner of the house, and found the female Pacific-Slope Flycatcher (Empidonax difficilis) sitting a little taller on her nest than usual.
Sure enough, when she left a little while later I slowly crept to within view, and low and behold, all of the Flycatcher eggs have hatched too!
These hatchlings are much younger than the Goldfinches, and still very vulnerable as the nest is in plain view on the side of the house, and quite low to the ground. They look a day or two older than the ones we found last year, that only lived for a day before their nest was robbed by predators. Hopefully the parents can keep these young ones safe this year, and we’ll soon have lots of young fledglings scrabbling about the garden.
How fun to be able to watch them! Hopefully the mother Flycatcher can keep these babies safe and I imagine she’ll not have much rest until they fly the nest, judging from her look atop the bobbling babies.
And the finches are so cute! Those little grey-haired bald-looking heads!
We noticed that our goldfinches love to strip bare the leaves of the sunflowers that seeded themselves under the bird feeder. We love to watch them.
I thought she looked quite funny trying to balance on top of the little ones. I’m always amazed how quickly young birds grow, and they’re already at the point I can’t envision them all tucked inside those tiny eggs a week ago!
What a wonderful treat of spring to see these in your garden! I love LOVE bird posts, you’ve inspired me to head out back and take a peek in my birdhouses. Love the sweet little golden finches, we are getting them here for the first time this year. So happy you shared this =)
I hadn’t noticed Lesser Goldfinches here at all until this year. I’m sure the occasional one passed by, but with the woods here it’s not always easy who’s who. This year though it seems we’re seeing them more and more, and yesterday I watched an American Goldfinch zippy around some blackberry plants too. I love that our bird diversity seems to be increasing the garden.
It’s so exciting to see babies birds in their nests. And such an anxious time when they start to fly! I hope yours all do well, and come back every year.
Fledging is an anxious time, at least for us spectators, but here I’m just as anxious while they’re in their nests. I saw a Jay with a nestling the other day in the middle of the road on my way to the store. It’s a rough world out there with all the predators if you’re small.
The babies are so cute. Spring just makes everything new again. This was the first year I saw baby blue jays and cardinals. Such a treat. We had a goldfinch pair, but did not see any little ones. They make such adorable little nests.
I was really happy to see the goldfinches were so big already. They seem to be doing really well so far **knock wood**. The nest itself is very difficult to see, unless you know where it is. Although yesterday, there was so much noise at feeding time, I don’t know how the whole neighborhood didn’t know where the nest was! 😉
For several years, I had robins nesting in the mock orange just outside my bedroom window. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very secure site, and the parents only occasionally managed to raise their nestlings to fledgling stage. More often, the nest would get raided by crows. Although I miss having a front row seat to watch the nest, I was relieved to see that they weren’t using it this year. Great photos of both your sets of babies!
We had some silly robins at our last house that kept trying to build a nest on the top of an arbor. It was metal and slick, and they just perched the nest up there. Every time a wind gust kicked up, the nest blew down, shattered on the ground, and they’d build it again. I so wished I could reason with them, and suggest they build it somewhere else. They must have built it a dozen times. They worked so hard that spring, but to no avail. 🙁
I recall several years ago we had a Pacific Slope Flycatcher around here it was the biggest birding news for over a week. Most of the bird babies are out of the nest here already.
Oh my…that Flycatcher must’ve been holding his GPS upside down! 😛 That’s a long way off course for a strictly left-coaster. How fun though, I can imagine how much of a stir that must’ve caused.
Easy mistake, especially with the females that look so much alike. The males are easier to identify because the lesser goldfinch has less gold (yellow) and more black. You are very lucky to have such good access to the nesting female. We have lots of Goldfinches here and this year we had a couple lesser goldfinches at the feeder feeding with the others.
The females are very much alike. Apparently the Lesser Goldfinch female has a darker bill, and slightly darker head, but tucked in the shade of the tree I honestly couldn’t see that she really did. I’m just glad the male was with her yesterday for a conclusive ID! 😉
Oh, I do hope things work out for the young ones. In my case, the junco nest was just on the ground as well and I was quite nervous, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the adolescents out and about. Good luck!
I’m definitely crossing my fingers. At least for the goldfinches they’re inside the deer fence, that keeps some ground predators at bay, they’ll just have the aerial ones to worry about. Another week and I expect I may find them hopping about the orchard. We’ve left the weeds in the orchard for now, it’s a bit overgrown, while we wait for the Quail to hatch, so if the finches are ground-bound for a day or two during fledge, at least they’ll have some cover.
I remember when you showed the pictures of the nests not too long ago. I hope the Flycatcher babies do well. I’m still bummed that the birds ended up not nesting here, I just love the sound of the baby birds as the parents fly in to feed them.
I was little surprised with the finches, it seemed like I’d just posted the photo of an empty nest. Nature wastes no time in spring!
I like the new look of the blog Curbstone Valley Farm.
Secondly, those finches are so cute! I must say that I have never seen baby finches in the wild. You are so fortunate to be surrounded by nature – various life forms are just springing everywhere in your property!
Are you going to name the birds? 🙂
Definitely no names. They’re wild animals, and don’t need them, besides they’re not mine to name. 😉
What great photos! Those finches do look crowded, but so cute. I hope the baby flycatchers make it. We had some cardinals nesting and a crow got them. But other cardinals fledged successfully and I’m enjoying watching bluebirds feed a second brood. I get more pleasure out of watching birds nest and raise their young … Thanks for sharing your photos.
The crows can be quite hard on nestlings here too, and when we have chicks and poults on the farm we have to keep them covered as youngsters, or the crows would fly off with them. The songbirds here seem to have a tough time with our Steller’s Jays. I’ve been watching a robin family chase them away from a nest for days. I wish the Jays would just stick to eating peanuts! 😉
Such cute babies and a treat to watch them up close…wonderful
I’m glad I have a long enough lens, and a pair of binoculars so I can watch them up close, but not be up close 😉
How exciting! Baby birds are so cute. I think that nest is going to pop with all those goldfinches in there. I was so happy when bluebirds successfully reared a family earlier this spring in a bluebird house by my Lady Garden. I cleaned out the nest box, and now I am thrilled they have made a second nestI
The nest definitely looks a little undersized already. I’m so jealous you have bluebirds, and nesting ones even! 🙂
So cute! I have never seen goldfinch nests. Here’s to their health!