Goldfinch in the cherry

Goldfinches in the cherry

Throughout the course of the week, the garden’s cherry tree has become the local diner to our resident goldfinch population. On Sunday, I changed the mix on feeders, 1, 3 and 4 using the RSPB’s ‘Premium Feeder Mix’. It’s not cheap (pardon the pun), but the results have been nothing short of astonishing!

We’ve enjoyed visits in the past but nothing on this scale. Today we had 8 goldfinches, hanging from the branches like Christmas decorations! My camera’s zoom lens is only a modest, so I couldn’t get close enough without spooking them from their perch. Each time they would fly out the branches clapping their wings almost in applause.

So I decided to create a composition from the better pictures. Using Photoshop, I reduced the size of the birds in the background and changed the direction so they all faced the same way. I then printed the finished montage and produced this sketch. On the down side, I could have sworn I saw a sparrowhawk this afternoon.



22 Replies to “Goldfinch in the cherry”

  1. Sounds to me like you came up with just the right mix, Keith. The scene must have been awesome! The most of one kind of birds that I have seen on our residence it 5-6 Cardinals as so with the Blue Jays.
    I love the painting! Each bird is created with such details. Thank you for share and keep a lookout for that sparrowhawk.

    1. Thank you Debbie. I’ve tried to take pictures of all our recent visitors including, BlueTits, Greenfinch and Goldfinch, but it was proving difficult. I just can’t get close enough!
      So I cheated a little building a jigsaw of images. Haven’t seen the sparrowhawk again. Thank you for your kind comments.

  2. Absolutely great! I love this. Excellent use of photoshop, I’d say. You have captured thir feathers and their personality of flightiness, here, Keith. I like those branches as well. Each bird has a distinct character in your piece.

    Spurred on by Val’s posts of bird life
    ( ), I have fed the birds this winter. The hawks seem to be attracted to where the little birds feed. I located my feeders near tall pines and arborvtaes and that seems to be the key. The little ones zoom! for cover and succeed.

    1. Thank you Leslie. There was no way I was going to get a good picture of a group without some help from multiple images and a little photoshop. I think I like the branches more than the birds! I follow Val and enjoy her posts. My cherry makes good cover against sparrowhawks. Thanks again for always following my humble posts.

  3. I’ve always been careful about mixing my pleasures but I’m enjoying the birding element of your blog (and your tweets) almost as much as I look forward to your next drawing or painting.
    I’ve only drawn birds a few times and your Goldfinches are an inspiration. I’m going to send a pen and ink drawing of urban Rock Doves to an exhibition and will probably post the image next week.

  4. I love reading how you created a composition in Photoshop that worked and then printed it before painting. Thats what I do too 🙂 A wonderful sketch. They look like they might flutter away at any moment, and I love how you captured the head tilt in the leftmost bird. Such colorful birds! Your post reminds me that I have failed to refill my feeder in months… No room for a seed feeder, but I’ve one for hummingbirds and they buzz around like crazy when it’s filled. They’re so fast I’ve never been able to photograph them!

    1. I would really like to see some of your bird photography if you have any. Our resident finch population see me coming from a mile off.
      I top the feeders up every Sunday, keeping a record of the birds on each feeder. I know, I should get a real life 🙂 The Goldfinch with the head tilt was for me,
      the only one that worked. I thought the branches were better! Thanks again Amber.

  5. Keith, as a fellow nature lover I love this post. I watch the goldfinches and other birds and love to paint them. I haven’t done anything recently and I am never fast enough to get good reference photos. Thank you for sharing…your birds will bring on the Spring.

    1. Thank you Linda. I could spend all day staring out the window (sometimes I do). The Goldfinch and the Greenfinch are my favourites and they often feed together. Simple things which bring so much happiness. I know, I must ben getting old.

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a goldfinch but I like yours. The red around their eyes is striking. Great composition. Now, excuse my ignorance, but why is seeing a sparrowhawk a bad thing. Will they eat the goldfnches?

    1. Goldfinches are beautiful little birds. I too love the red around their eyes. Sparrowhawks are very fond of Goldfinches. They hang around the garden waiting to pounce! I try to keep the feeders inside the branches of the cheery tree, the fence behind prevents an attack from the rear, while the branches make it difficult for the sparrowhawk to swoop through. However they always manage to take a few, especially tree and house sparrows!

  7. Goldfinches hanging from the branches like Christmas decorations – I think birds make perfect ornaments for Christmas trees, but my kids think I go a bit overboard with them. Your goldfinches are beautiful!

    Sometimes I feel like I’m listening to a foreign language when reading comments left here by your fellow artists. Not being a painter myself, I know when I like a painting, but am at a loss to explain why. Fascinating learning about the effort and thoughts that go into each work of art…

    1. Thanks Barbara. Pleased you enjoyed reading through my self indulgent ramblings! I enjoy following many different types of blogs, from food, to walking, from birdies to everyday stuff! It’s a great way of discovering facts and information about parts of the world we might never visit. It’s great having you as a follower too!

  8. Oh, I’m so sorry, Keith – I thought I’d commented on this, and see I haven’t! I love this – it’s beautiful. And what a great idea to put all of them together.
    Apropos the bird mix, it’s sometimes cheaper to get packs of the individual seeds and mix your own. There’s an online firm (in the UK) that I use that delivers and has a fairly wide range of foodstuffs. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll email you the link.

    1. Thanks Val. It’s always good to see your messages on my ‘comments’. The colours really helped, otherwise I find it difficult to pick out the details. I think I might need
      new specs! Please send me the link for the mix. I think I’d enjoy having a go at experimenting with the feed!

  9. I think you’re inspiring me to draw some birds – it’s a very long time since I have. Do goldfinches stay all winter in Britain? I ‘ve forgotten! I saw a load of them a few weeks back but I had the impression they were just passing through.

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