To the Editor:
Actually, the goldfinches have been here all summer. These tiny, puffed-up flecks of sunlight flit amongst local parks, gardens and any place that provides food and other necessities for a productive goldfinch life. In late summer they begin to prepare for the winter.
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) maintains beds of coneflowers, black-eyed susans, lilies and floribunda roses at the ends of the berms flanking the north side of 55th Street between University and Cottage Grove avenues. For as long as the flower beds have existed, in autumn months my husband and I have enjoyed seeing a dozen or so goldfinches feasting on the oil-rich seeds buried deep in the spent flower heads. They pry the seeds out with their strong beaks, often scattering seeds on the ground to be eaten by other birds or mice.
Last autumn, not a goldfinch was to be seen. All that was left of the flowers were bare, black stalks — someone had given the order to remove spent flowers, probably because they were “unsightly.” This year, to our delight, the goldfinches have returned. We have learned that CDOT ordered that spent flowers not be removed. Once again we see the striking black-and-yellow of the males, the soft beige and cream of the females, watch their rollercoaster flight, and hear their rollicking chatter.
The Chicago Department of Transportation has invited us to have a truly golden autumn.
Frances S. Vandervoort