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A Question about Goldfinch Feathers

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Old Friday 3rd May 2019, 09:52   #1
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Location: East Norfolk
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A Question about Goldfinch Feathers

The other day a male Sparrowhawk visited my garden and made a kill. I didn't spot it until it had nearly finished eating its catch, so I couldn't see what the prey was.

After it had flown away I went out to inspect the remains of the unfortunate bird and discovered a patch of pale grey, downy feathers. At first I thought that it might be one of the feral pigeons that frequent the garden but closer inspection revealed some black feathers with white spots on them and others with bright yellow sections. I therefore concluded that it was a Goldfinch.

However, I have been studying the Goldfinches in my garden since then and cannot see any grey feathers on them at all. They are all pale brown, cream, white and red, apart from the black and yellow. I can only conclude that the feathers are not actually these colours at all but pale grey with fine coloured borders to them, which give the impression of the colours when smoothed down. Is this the case or is there some other explanation? I would be interested to hear your views.

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