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To BeeBalm, Michael and Natures Photo....
I noticed the babies only went through their begging routine for perhaps 3 days (2-4 days) here.
They began to leave Dad alone once they caught on to the bird feeder.
But up until that happens they are overzealous....and relentless. Dad will be feeding one and while its wings are flailing, its sibling will come barging in, and breaking up the two of them and then chase Dad off in pursuit of a feeding. When he perches, the fledgling frantically flies in and climbs all over him.....literally, driving him off again....as he tries to get away. It's really funny.
I plant sunflowers right next to the sunflower seed feeder and the bush that they perch on. It is all within 15 feet of my front window......and mostly closer. I think it was about mid to late August that the babies start to appear.....chasing Dad. They call and call and call, while flailing their wings. Once they stop calling, they have caught onto the self-feeding routine and he is free once again.....
At least that is what I saw here. So plant some sunflowers late next Spring close to your shooting window and maybe have a sunflower seed feeder there too. Also, there are some sunflowers that germinate from the feeder seed . I spot them in the Spring and mark them so that I do not mow over them.
I have been feeding them for about 4 years now.....not once letting the feeder become depleted of sunflower seeds. If and when I move away, I will have to make sure that a bird lover takes over my house. I have about 3 generations of American Goldfinches here. They are born here; they enjoy life here; they reproduce here.....and they die here. I would estimate that the entire extended family numbers about 20-30 birds.
I am in Portland, Maine. I know a man in Bangor who tells me that he has had them at his place all his life......about 130 miles north of Portland.......all year long.
One last thing....winter cover is crucial for the survival of any of these birds that decide to stay. that means thick coniferous bushes or trees. I have thick cedar and holly bushes. I am thinking about a few hemlocks.
It's a blast.