Finch feeding frenzy

The behavior of my backyard birds is often just as telling as the latest weather report.  Judging from the frenzy of activity going on at the bird feeders today, the thermometer must be headed for negative numbers again.

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There must have been 2 or 3 dozen House Finches and Goldfinches mobbing this feeder in waves.

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A few waited their turn in the bushes opposite the feeder…

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Most of the time the birds took turns amicably.

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But there’s always a bully in the bunch. The red-headed male House Finch at top right tried moving a female House Finch off her perch.  But she beaked him once or twice and he moved away.

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Moments later, he was over on the left side of the feeder trying to move a male House Finch away from his perch. But he lost that battle, too, and flew away.

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I never realized how pretty Goldfinches are in flight with their striking black and gold wings.

The finches monopolized the feeder continuously for 10-15 minutes and then disappeared for an hour or two.  Then the frenzy started up once more, but again dissipated.  It must take quite a while to move all that bird seed from their crop and stomach into the lower part of the intestine for digestion.