Tuesday, January 17, 2006

American Goldfinch

One of the things I like best about this secluded perch on the hill above the river is the number of birds that frequent our yard. In spring and summer we have a wonderful variety of birds nesting on the property. Year around the most common of our birds is the American Goldfinch. These friendly visitors are a continuing delight and entertainment. In summer these birds seem made from sunshine and shadow: the males have a plumage of yellow with white wing bars on black wings, a white rump patch and a notched black tail and a black crown over their foreheads. They change their feathers for winter wearing a softer and less conspicuous olive-brown with some yellow still showing on the head

The Latin name for the American Goldfinch is Corduelis tristis Corduelis for their preference for thistle seeds and tristis for their call which some say is a sad call. The calls I hear are canary like, clear and light: sweee-eat or di-di- di or punctuating their undulating flight, with per-chic-o-ree to me these are happy comforting calls. A group of goldfinches is known as a charm.

Their food preference seems to be the thistle seeds. They will line the thistle feeder from top to bottom leaving not a single perch empty. Goldfinches also enjoy the black oil sunflower seeds we keep in a number of our hanging feeders.

They nest late in the season. We often see young birds just beginning to come to the feeders in August and even into September.

Goldfinches at our feeders and bring pleasure with their presence all year round.


Anonymous kathryn said...

Lovely photos, especially the one at the bottom of the post.

I grew up in upstate NY and remember such a variety of birds! This was also the case in Austin, TX, where I lived 10 years. However, now that I live in Silicon Valley, I need to travel a bit further to see avian variety.

10:00 PM  

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