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January 1, 2011 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: American Goldfinch

These adorable little Goldfinches are year-round visitors to my yard. In the summer the males have bright yellow and shiny black plumage. The female, on the right, remains a more subdued shade of yellow. They love sunflower seeds and nyjer thistle. Here they are in their summer feathers eating sunflower seeds.

American Goldfinch

In the winter they form large flocks and will swarm thistle feeders and seed socks. Both the male and female turn a dull shade, almost greenish, but these are the same birds. They are very agile and acrobatic clinging to plants and weeds to pluck the seeds from dead flowers and hanging sideways from the feeder.

American Goldfinch

A few interesting facts from All About Birds:

  • American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer.
  • Goldfinches move south in winter following a pattern that seems to coincide with regions where the minimum January temperature is no colder than 0 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
  • Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.

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I’m participating in Saturday Snapshots this weekend. Head on over to At Home With Books to see more great photos.

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8 Comments

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  1. Rebecca Rasmussen / Jan 1 2011 12:50 pm

    I adore goldfinches — just absolutely adore them. Wonderful pictures, Leslie. Happy, happy new year 🙂

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  2. Suko / Jan 1 2011 1:11 pm

    These are gorgeous photos, Leslie! I love that goldfinches are strict vegetarians. Enjoy the first day of 2011. 🙂

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  3. Alyce / Jan 1 2011 1:12 pm

    I never would have guessed that those were the same birds. Thanks for the educational moment. 🙂 Happy New Year!

    Like

  4. J L Jackson / Jan 1 2011 6:09 pm

    I adore all finches and I love seeing them in their natural habitat. These are beautiful!

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  5. Beth F / Jan 2 2011 6:58 am

    Awesome!!!! I don’t have much luck with bird photography.

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  6. TheBookGirl / Jan 2 2011 11:48 am

    What beautiful photographs 🙂
    They remind me of when I was growing up and my mom would always hang a hunk of suet outisde for the birds to feed on; we would see mostly plain, brown colored wrens and sparrows, but once in a while we would get fire engine red cardinals and a tangerine colored bird whose name escapes me…We would also get our fair share of big black crows and large noisy blue jays who inevitably pushed the little ones aside, making my mom angry, lol.

    Thanks for these photos — they brought back such nice memories for me 🙂

    Like

    • Leslie / Jan 3 2011 3:03 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the bird photos. I try and post one a week. I can spend hours watching them and never seem to tire of it.

      Like

  7. tootlepedal / Jan 18 2011 5:34 pm

    They are very different from the goldfinches I see in our garden in Scotland but lovely to look at. Very sharp photographs indeed.

    Like

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