European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Thistle composition with Goldfinches and Painted Lady, copyright Paula Kuitenbrouwer

This drawing centres a plant that most of us regard as noxious weed: the thistle. Goldfinches like thistles and are able to feed on them without getting hurt. Thistles are also host plants for caterpillars of the Painted Lady. In this drawing I show the interdependency of the bird, plant and butterfly.

I took a diagonal composition from top-right to down-left, in which you see the passive bird looking to the right and the actively, eating bird looking left-down. I show the thistle with opened and unopened flower buds.

Next time when you see a thistle try ‘to land’ with two fingers on this plant. I can tell you that holding this plant in front of me while drawing was a painful event, however hard I tried to avoid touching the prickles. I therefore admire those skilful, little birds that know how to avoid the sharp prickles on the margins. Check the thistle for the eggs or caterpillars of the Painted Lady, (Vanessa cardui in Latin). You might see a few.


Paula Kuitenbrouwer sells her drawings as well as reproductions.

3 thoughts on “European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

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