Thursday, July 27, 2006

Goldfinch in my backyard

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!


Laura said...

I can't believe how busy you are on your farm, and can't believe how long it's been since i checked in with your blog. Interesting about the goldfinch and its habitat. How lucky you saw it! I've got a moth that looks just like a hummingbird that is busily visiting my larkspur this week. Took me several research attempts and a very wise book to realize it was a moth! I wonder what advantages it has by imitating a hummer? Fascinating stuff.

What do you do with all your peaches? I've been busy preserving beets, zucchini, and chard this week. None of the berries made it into the house this year, due to foraging children. :)

The chickens got loose today and had a wild time of dusting themselves in my flower beds. *sigh* But I guess I can't be too angry with them - I'd escape if I could, too.


Deborah said...

The peaches are just now starting to ripen, and I have been going through my canning book trying to decide ... pie filling, jam, preserves, salsa? Salsa would definitely be #1 on the list, but the tomatoes haven't riped yet. grrr! I've even started to get jalapenos. There are quite a few green tomatoes, so I'm hoping I won't have to wait much longer for the tomatoes to ripen.


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