The goldfinches come in swarms. All other visitors to our bird feeder – great tits, blue tits, nuthatches – come singly or in small groups. When goldfinches come, there’s at least half a dozen of them on the feeder itself, and more hanging around and twittering in the branches of nearby trees. The most I’ve seen at and around the feeder was 20 goldfinches altogether.

They tolerate each others’ company, but not that of other birds. When a gang of goldfinches occupies the feeder and a tit tries to join in, they won’t even let it land. But nuthatches are apparently above them in the pecking order – when one of those arrives, the goldfinches take flight.

For some reason all these birds want the sunflower seeds and nothing else, and the peanuts that used to be so popular now hang there uneaten. You’d think that the tits would go eat the peanuts, which they used to love, when they can’t get access to the sunflower seeds – but no, they’d rather just leave.