Many months ago, at a time when seeds were ripe, and flowers opened in all their glory, there was an occurrence which angered all finch-kind. A shy, unobtrusive American Goldfinch was viciously intimidated by a Black-capped Chickadee, and the poor finch was forced to leave his meal and go hungry because the little ruffian.
Now we, the illustrious Purple Finches will avenge our lesser cousin and shall journey far to the scene of the crime. We shall arrive, we shall see, we shall conquer. Swarm the feeders, my friends; let not one chickadee break into our numbers to snatch a sunflower seed.
Upon the ground, gather and eat your fill while the chickadees look on, mealess. Perhaps even the perpetrator of the shameless crime shall behold the friends of his victim gorge themselves on the food, taking all, permitting none.
Now, my mighty folk, let us take to wing, return to Canada and fulfill our plan.
Like all animals, these finches are innocent of any sinful thoughts, such as revenge. They do, though, come in large numbers at the end of April and horde every seed station. Yes, even the feisty Black-capped Chickadees have a difficulty getting a bite to eat during those times. Male Purple finches are magnificent birds of purplish-red hew with white upon their abdomen and under-tail coverts. Their wings and tails are brownish-grey and upon each of their wings are two reddish wing bars. The females are much duller, being olive-grey streaked with white.
The Black-capped Chickadee is a very wide-spread bird. It even is present in the United States of America as well as Canada and has four subspecies. These are the Black-capped, the Long-tailed, the Oregon, and the Yukon Black-capped chickadees. These birds lay their eggs in tree cavities and nest boxes which they first line with moss. Both parents incubate the egg, and after 13 days, four to eight nestlings appear. This chickadee is the state bird of Maine.
The male American Goldfinch is a bright, cheerful yellow with a smart black cap upon its head and bold black wings. The female is similar, but is a olive colour and lacks the dark cap of her flamboyant mate. Unfortunately, in the fall, males abandon their eye-catching garb and become similar in appearance to the females. Their call is a joyful “ per-chick-o-ree” and their flight is wave-like, as if they are bobbing upon a sea of air.
Also known as the Common Sunflower this plant is actually a native to our soils. This would explain why so many of our wild animals are attracted by its nutritious seeds. I have yet to see one wild, but I have yet to see many of the natural wonders of Saskatchewan. This flower was first cultivated by the First Nations People who ate the seeds raw, roasted or ground into cakes. How wonderful it would be to behold one in the wilderness!