The wild birds have been suffering through extreme cold. While they obviously need more calories as they expend to keep warm, they also need fresh water, and a lot of it. The more you eat the more you need to drink!
This American Goldfinch has a serious injury to its leg. I only noticed it once I downloaded the files and reviewed them. It’s hard to say what might have happened, but it looks quite fresh.
I was not aware of the injury when I was filming two Goldfinches as they drank from an opening in the patio pond.
First one bird arrived and took a drink. There was a White-crowned sparrow in the foreground. I wonder if the Goldfinch was using it as an warning signal. If the Sparrow took flight, the Goldfinch could do so, too in order to avoid any threat that the Sparrow detected. After all, it seems quite vulnerable to dip your head so low, especially below the surface of the snow.
Shortly there after, a second Goldfinch arrived. The first bird took another long, slow drinks as it perched on the twig. Facing the opposite direction, the second bird remained next to the first. It reminded of a bit of how horses face head to tail in a summer pasture to take advantage of the other horse’s tail swooshes – which help chase away flies.
I got the sense that the birds were providing “look out” services to each other. Predators could be lurking around any corner or over any snow drift. It can be beneficial to have a buddy that has your back.
It’s hard to see it in these images, but the second bird spent less time drinking than did the first bird, and it changed position on the twig a couple of times, too. He seemed more focused on the first bird, than his own need to drink. I can’t tell for sure, especially because Goldfinches change colors through the seasons, but the second bird may be a male (more yellow) and the first bird a female (more drab colored.) Perhaps, these are mates.
The last image, above, looks so tender. Call me human. I am. But I see concern and care.
As I was reviewing the images, I realized that the first bird was the injured Goldfinch that I had filmed earlier. I wondered if the second bird was aware of the first bird’s plight. If so, is that last image above truly what it seems?
I believe Nature is filled with kind moment like these. We just need to relax and take in what’s happening to see such acts of unity. I am going to allow myself to believe the first bird has a good chance of surviving her injury because she has a mate that has her back.