Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Goldfinch

 
The goldfinch is a common visitor to bird feeders through out the United States. They are strictly seed eaters rarely consuming insects. At feeders they prefer thistle and nyjer seed. The breeding season for goldfinch comes later then many other birds, usually June or July. This is an advantage because this is typically around the time when plants like thistle are in bloom. The thistle seed provides food for the chicks and adults while the stringy substance that is attached to the seeds is often used in nest construction.
The goldfinch is the only finch that molts its feathers more then once a year. Molting is the process by which birds replace their feathers. Feathers are not living tissue, they are sort of like our hair, if they break they can not be healed. To make sure that their feathers stay in tip top shape birds molt once or twice a year. Birds that molt twice a year usually do so because they have more colorful plumage for the breeding season. In the species that molt twice both male and female will molt however it is usually much more obvious in the male. The bottom photo was taken in March when goldfinch are just beginning to molt into their summer breeding plumage. The top photo was taken at the height of the breeding season when the males are almost a neon yellow color.


13 comments:

photowannabe said...

This is such a beautiful and stunning bird.

Carver said...

Great shots of the beautiful goldfinches. Carver, ABC Wed. Team

Roger Owen Green said...

what a cutie
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Norma Ruttan said...

goldfinches bring sunlight to my feeder even when the sky is grey! beautiful captures!

Neil said...

Beautiful birds.

Carole M. said...

delightful birds; the male is a stunner! Lovely post

Digi-Irma said...

Great shots of the beautiful goldfinches.
Greetings Irma

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stunning bird, great shots.

bailey-road.com said...

Beautiful shots of these bright yellow birds.

Dave said...

The fresh plumage is stunning, would brighten up any day for sure

Wanda said...

They certainly do prefer Thistle. I tried a different seed...and they snubbed their little noses at it, and the feeder is still full. I guess if they get hungry enough they'll come back.

Reader Wil said...

This is so interesting ! Thank you for the informative post.
Have a great day!
Wil, ABCW Team

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I tried so hard to get a couple of Goldfinch images on Milkweed pods the other day and messed them up real good...so happy to see your beauties!!!