This morning coming into work I heard the unmistakable chirps of squabbling goldfinches. There was a large flock feeding on a line of plane trees. While I climbed the stairs I thought delightedly that the window in our lab overlooks the trees, so I could have a level view of the feeding goldfinches. There they were, hanging from the bauble-like seed balls or balancing from the thin stems holding them. London plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia) is an important food resource for goldfinches, as it provides seeds during the autumn months into the winter. The photos didn't come brilliant - I blame the dirty windows - but I think the one on top captures the atmosphere of the feeding flock. I count seven, how many can you see?
Sachslehner, L. M. (1998): The significance of Plane-trees Platanus x hispanica M. as a food resource for Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis L. in Vienna. Egretta 41: 90-101.