Feathered Sunshine was inspired by my yearning for spring in the dead of winter. Nestled warmly inside, sipping hot coffee a long flight of steps above the icy driveway out front, I decided to create a bright sign of spring if I couldn't actually make it come early.
At least that's what I thought I was doing...
I always believed goldfinches went away in the fall and came back in early spring. Not so - though their bright gold colors are definitely a sign of spring.
Confused? I was.
It turns out that along the Mid-Atlantic coastal region where I live goldfinches never leave at all. Instead, the more recognizably striking gold, black and white males go incognito for the winter, exchanging their golden plumage for drab olives and browns, perhaps as camouflage during the colder months.
They molt again and reappear as "goldfinches" around April, flaunting their bright gold feathered regalia just in time to draw the eye of their lifetime mate. And this explains what makes many of us think they've been away and just returned.
I didn't know until I started researching that goldfinches have long been considered symbolic of good tidings, renewal and resurrection.
They've been painted for thousands of years, particularly in ancient religious works of art relating to a tale about the first Easter. Lore has it that a goldfinch - lover of seeds and thistles - followed Jesus as he carried his cross and seeing his crown of thorns, plucked a thorn from Jesus' forehead where he was bleeding. The story goes on to say a drop of blood got on the goldfinch and that is why some varieties have red spots. Google and Wikipedia are great sources if you're interested in reading more tales.
I hope "Feathered Sunshine" brightens your day and brings you the good tidings for which this beautiful feathered creature is known.