Goldfinch Nest

Gold in the gray. Pale blue eggs sheltered in spider silk. It’s essential to make plans. Something good to look forward to and commit a concerted effort. I plan the minute after solstice.

Days grow longer each second, only to reveal the silence of winter. Seasonal blues for an amateur birder. Assumptions of less to see in the cold. However, this winter, in addition to observing my frenemy canadian geese sleeping on an iced over pond, I plan to take a closer look at bare trees and shrubs.

Winter Nest Exploration

The bare winter landscape gives us an opportunity to get a closer look at these works of determination, all of which are constructed from a variety of materials, using different techniques.

Mass Audubon

What to Look For

  • deciduous trees in residential areas and fields
  • three inches in diameter
  • weaved within two or three vertical branches

How Do They Do It?

  • Male and female goldfinches work together in choosing a site
  • females build the nest
  • Spider silk, roots, thistle and, milkweed are among building materials
  • Base secured to a tree branch
  • Nests take up to a week to complete

I’ve wanted to study nests closely for several seasons. According to field guides on my bookshelf it is an essential and rewarding part of birding. Studying small housings built by Goldfinches show remarkable craftsmanship of glued hair, thin strings of sticks, and stems woven seamlessly into spider silk.

A simple, solid housing until we look closer at the chaos. Echoes of hoarder’s obsessive cry “Don’t touch! That’s important.” The abandoned teacup, a complex pen study I am unsure my skill can match.


  • Pilot Capless Fermo founatain pen
  • Kuretake sable fountain pen
  • Kuretake menso brush
  • Iroshizuku Yama-budo ink
  • Tomoe River notebook

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