Something old and something new at the Sabine feeder

You all know Mr. Chickadee, with his jaunty little black cap.  He is considering his next move as he looks with obvious disapproval at the fare – from just before I went on my eastern journey. 

They like the black sunflower seeds better than anything, it seems.

Here is a finch of some sort.  I don’t know who. 

This finch was rather calm, unlike the flitty Chickadee.  He/she just sort of stared into space, zombie-like. 

Maybe this is the Zombie Finch.

Anyway, I don’t know this brand, or if this is a winter plumage or if this is a migrating species who just stopped for a snack.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Aelric says:

    A winter plumage male gold finch? Some of the ones who visit our feeder can barely be thought of as gold/yellow now. The wing feathers remind me of a gold finch, but I make no claim to expertise in this area.

  2. Dennis says:

    I serve the feathered ones sunflower seeds only now (in addition to a few suet feeders). I grew tired of the waste and the mess when they flunge the unwanted seeds about. I do not have any shortage of varieties as a result. I also figure if they need more in their diet, they will surely find it where they can. Meanwhile, my wife, the cats and I can enjoy the birds all winter.

  3. JL says:

    I’ve been told that the black sunflower seeds have a higher fat content. Sounds like the birds have similar tastes to mine!

  4. Michael says:

    Not the goldfinch: they have longer and sharp beak, longish body, the plumage would not loose colour in Winter. I am not sure if the colours were reproduced well, but as it stands I would first think of a female chafinch.

  5. Aelric says:


    I am not an expert, but the male American Goldfinch does lose his color in winter – at least the ones that come to my feeder have done so. I do not mean to suggest that they become beige, but the bright yellow/gold color is now a thing of the past, at least here. Ref: Stokes Field Guide to Birds, Eastern Region by Donald & Lillian Stokes, Little, Brown, and Co. 1996.

  6. Janet says:

    Looks like a goldfinch in winter plumage, just going by wing markings and body shape. Coloring seems off, but it could just be my monitor or the lighting when you took the picture.

  7. Mark says:

    looks like a goldfinch to me.

  8. GOR says:

    Yes the Chickadees certainly prefer the sunflower seeds. I use a mix and they industriously toss out the other unwanted seeds, so that the feeder can be emptied in a matter of hours!

    But (“It’s an ill wind…”) the resulting heap on the ground is snapped up by others – not to mention squirrels and chipmunks!

  9. Dennis says:

    Unforunately for my gardens and yard, my birds and other critters have not been as effecient in cleaning up the mess. I have had to dispose of a lot of spoiling, sprouting and molding discarded seeds. With the sunflowers, many of hulls drift away in the breeze or easily compost on their own without the decaying protein.

  10. Michael says:

    Janet, Aelrik, Mark, they say in my native: when three tell you that you are drunk, do not insist that you aren’t but go to bed.

    Fr. Z., please save me, it is my last chance. What colour was it actually ? [It looks right on my monitor. What it looks like on yours… I have no idea.]

  11. GOR: I use a mix and they industriously toss out the other unwanted seeds, so that the feeder can be emptied in a matter of hours!

    Exactly! They use their beaks to shove everything off the feeder as they search for their favorites.

  12. Michael says:

    Father Z. Murky on my monitor, nuances of gray and nearly black. On the Adriatic the goldfinches are always beautiful, even ladies, it requires a lot of skill to tell the difference. Only juveniles in spring/summer are murky.

    Look, it occured to me that a male siskin might be considered. But he is green-yellowish. That’s the reason for my colour enquiry.

  13. Bill says:

    I’d say it’s a female goldfinch, although it could be a male in winter plumage. See here for another picture. is a fairly decent resource as well.

    We had bunches of them at our feeders this summer but alas have all moved south.

  14. RichR says:

    Peaceful birds. Nice to watch.

  15. Sara says:

    they say in my native: when three tell you that you are drunk, do not insist that you aren’t but go to bed.

    Michael–love the saying!! One I’ll definitely keep in my hip pocket :)

  16. Dan says:

    Looks exactly like the finch I had on my niger seed feeder this morning here in Eastern Iowa. I think it’s a goldfinch in Winter plumage.

  17. Dan: Yep… I think you have it. This is our old friend of the Goldfinch Eating team, in his Zombie-Finch mode.

  18. Michael says:

    Sara, thank you, you are lovely girl, but I am approaching biblical ages. To spare myself of exmommunication for changing the subject,

    Fr. Z. if there is still a reliable memory corner in my brain, these finches were on display long time ago on your Blog. I would’t rule out even that contested lonely one. Any comment?

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