Days of dull, cold weather can be depressing, but there’s always something in the natural world to lift the spirits. I can always rely on the goldfinches on our garden feeders, which even on the dullest of days, shine like beacons. Although it’s only February, and they breed later than most small birds, they’re in wonderful breeding plumage already. On really cold days they stay in the garden all day, but even when the weather gets warmer, they’ll be in and out all the time.
There’s very little doubt that goldfinches are much more common on Gower than a generation ago. Maybe it’s the result of a change in climate, or perhaps more people are feeding birds in gardens than ever before, but the change is clear to see.
A friend who lived close by and has moved away now, kept finches in an aviary at the bottom of his garden. He had greenfinches and goldfinches, which he kept for their song, together with lots of other exotic species. I could never understand why he didn’t simply invest in a bird feeder and some niger seeds. He could then have had the real things in his garden.