Friday, July 17, 2009

Camera Criters: Gold Finch

The American goldfinch is a common bird in most of North America. The bright yellow and black coloration of the males makes them easily recognizable, however this is not the case all year long. People often do not recognize American goldfinch during the winter when it is in its non-breeding plumage. The American goldfinch is the only finch that molts twice a year. The first time is in late winter when the males get the bright yellow and black breeding plumage. The second molt comes at the beginning of fall when they shed their bright yellow for a duller version that is similar to the females coloration all year long.
American goldfinch prefer can be found in a variety of habitat but they prefer to live around weedy fields. This is handy because they are almost exclusively vegetarian. Thistle seeds are one of there favorite foods. It is a lot of fun to watch them tear into the plant pulling out the hairs, called pappus, to get to the seeds at the bottom.
Besides being a consciences vegetarian the American goldfinch is also a good environmentalist. Instead of throwing away all of the pappus from the thistle plant they will take some back and use them to build their nest. This may be part of the reason why they nest much later then other birds, in June and July.

6 comments:

dAwN said...

Great pictures! wonderful...
I want to invite you to this event>>cant remember if I did already..but here is the link to our birders who blog tweet and chirp meets birds and beers.Aug 15 MN.already some bloggers joining us..
here is the list
http://tinyurl.com/kqqmfs

Vicki ~ FL said...

Beautiful post!

Brooke said...

Oh wow... great captures! His coloring is just gorgeous.

Adirondackcountrygal said...

Wonderful post and great photos!

Mara said...

What a lovely little bird. I wonder what the female looks like though...

John George said...

I had the good fortune to find a mated pair of Gold Finches feeding among my basil plants (which I have allowed to go to seed for just such occassions).
These two Finches were methodical in striping the the basil seed pods from every stem and they really enjoyed their meal!
It was just after first light and I watched them go at it through my kitchen window for about 10 minutes; I tried for photos but there just wasn't enough light for any digital exposures.
Truly, our Father feeds the birds of the field and I loved being part of His plan!
John George
North Carolina