My various finches have come and gone periodically this winter,
with the exception of the hordes of Redpolls, who came and
stayed. I haven't seen more than one or two Goldfinches in a few
weeks now, although I had a couple dozen earlier in the winter,
and the clutch of 8 or 10 House finches is also absent at the
moment. I've also had very occasional visits from a pair of
It's hard not to conclude that the other finches are being
crowded out by the Redpolls, although they seem to share feeder
space quite peacefully with other birds and with each other, none
of the sort of irritable aggressiveness that's so typical of a
gang of Goldfinches and even House finches.
The only time the Niger feeder has had any customers this winter
was when the first lone Redpoll showed up for only one day and
spent the entire time feeding non-stop, while the other finches
monopolized the sunflower seed. When about a week later a dozen
Redpolls arrived, they went right for the sunflower seed. It
does seem that as the Redpoll numbers have built up, the others
Is it possible that birds, even of similar size and related
species, are reluctant to come in to a feeder that's being
heavily used by a crowd of another species? In ones and twos and
threes, mixed species don't seem to have any problem sharing
feeders, but I wonder if there is some sort of intimidation
effect that kicks in when the numbers get so lopsided.
Has it been true in previous Redpoll years that Goldfinches,
etc., have been largely absent, or is this year different?
Richard Harlow wrote:
> We have had NO Goldfinches this month nor any finches for that matter till
> Now we have between 20-40 Redpolls yesterday and today.
> Unlike other years, when we have had Goldfinches all winter long, or in '06
> when we had Pine Siskins from December till March.
> Richard Harlow
> Chittenden County
> Milton, VT
> Arrowhead Lake Area
>>We too, as I have said, usually have 30 - 50 gold finches and have none this
>>year, nor purple finches. We seem to have a regular flock of redpolls but that
>>is it. We have not used half the seed we used last year and previous years.
>>Carol & Pete