Prior to moving out here, I had never seen an American goldfinch, even though they live all over Illinois. But after doing the slightest bit of research on the beautiful bird, I quickly realized why I'd never seen one -- we didn't provide the necessary habitat. There is a thistle growing tall outside the dining room window. I complained silently to myself about the invasive, problematic plant (deposits burrs in the sheeps' wool) until I saw a beautiful yellow and black bird landing on the spent flowers and grabbing the white fluffy stuff. A quick look in our "Birds of Illinois" book, and we discovered the American goldfinch builds its nest in late July, early August, using thistle down! We were entertained by both the male and female (male pictured) coming back to the plant repeatedly throughout the day, grabbing more of the thistle down for their nest!
We appear to be winning the battle against the Japanese beetles. We think we are having such good luck because we are capturing them without the use of lures -- which attracts them. We are simply waiting with our little sandwich baggies, and when they land on the peach trees, we tap them gently, causing them to fall into the bag. Also, I am not removing the damaged fruit (contrary to the gospel that all spoiled fruit should be removed, lest it attract more bugs). I figure it makes it easier for me to find the new beetles, and I'm really hoping they go for a fruit that is already damaged, rather than starting to nibble on an uninjured peach. The baggie has fewer and fewer bugs in it every day!