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Lesser goldfinch on my zexmenia
June 15th, 2008

Yesterday as I was driving out I saw a small dark bird hovering over the xeriscape bed in the berm between the street and sidewalk. At first I thought it was a hummingbird, but it was too dark — we only have rubythroats here (as far as I know). I stopped to get a good look at it and it turned out to be a male lesser goldfinch picking seeds out of the gone-by zexmenia flowers (Wedelia hispida). Very cool! You can see a picture of the bird here. The closest I’ve seen them is 3 hours southwest, in the Uvalde area. I hope it will be a regular visitor to the zexmenia, although I’ve never heard of goldfinches eating anything but thistle seed. Maybe it will make do with zexmenia seeds until the thistles have bloomed and gone to seed.

We have planted the berm with various drought- and deer-tolerant plants. The zexmenia has nice flowers but it’s a weedy, woody kind of plant with rough-bristly leaves and stems (that’s what hispida means). The best thing is that the deer leave it strictly alone and can’t hurt it even when they go crashing clumsily through it. (They keep knocking pads off the prickly pear. Fortunately the pads root readily if you stick them in the ground but I’d rather have one large prickly pear than 10 small ones.)
Zexmenia flower

2 Responses to “Lesser goldfinch on my zexmenia”
  1. From Rifestitch
    12 years, 3 months ago

    That’s really neat – I know we have some variety of gold finch here, but nothing that looks like that one! One of my goals this summer is to get hummingbird pics – if DH would get the deck cleaned off a bit so I can post my tripod out there, aimed at the feeder – which I haven’t seen a single hummer at since I filled it a few weeks ago :(

    Our hummers haven’t shown up either. It seems very late for them still not to have arrived. Maybe it’s just too hot here and they have gone farther north. The lesser gold finch is not the only bird we’ve seen here that should only be farther south; we’ve also had golden-fronted woodpeckers. While I don’t think we’re having an unusually hot summer, maybe the birds are more sensitive to climate change and are reacting by redistributing themselves. The Travis Audubon rare bird alert hasn’t been updated in six months so I have no idea what other people are seeing.

  2. From Rifestitch
    12 years, 3 months ago

    You know, the weird weather pattern might explain some of it, here, anyway. I saw the hummers before I filled the feeder – that’s what prompted me to get off my duff – but haven’t seen them since, even at the times that I normally see many. And I read somewhere that the same ones come back year after year – maybe they just got fed up, waiting for me to get the hint :( My cannas are all in bloom, so I keep a look out in there for them, too. It’s like they all disappeared when that heat wave came through week before last….

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