A European goldfinch has chosen the roof just above my window as one of the points from which to declare his amorous intentions towards lady goldfinches. The sparrow-sized bird is a cousin to the goldfinches that make regular appearances in Father Z’s Feeder Feed. It is also a skilled and loud singer.
There is a story about the European goldfinch that connects it to Christ’s passion. When Christ was crucified, the story goes, a goldfinch came and landed on His head. To ease the Lord’s suffering the little bird, accustomed as it was (and still is) to nest and forage among thistles and other thorny plants, started to pull out the thorns that the soldiers had crowned Christ with. That is why goldfinches still have red faces, stained with the Blood of Christ. So, in a sense, goldfinches are Eucharistic birds…
Of course, one bird’s efforts didn’t really help, but intentions matter. Goldfinches were considered symbols of endurance and persistence in medieval art. Paintings of the Blessed Virgin with the Christ Child often also featured a goldfinch, in part to indicate the salvation Christ would bring through His Blood.
I’ll consider the goldfinch singing outside my window as a reminder of that.