Monday, September 14, 2009

American Goldfinch

I have a triumphant new set of pictures for you! Some of you may remember awhile ago when I came upon a little yellow bird at the back of one of my nature parks. I found out a short time later that the bird was an American Goldfinch. I was amazed to see a bird in my area that had that bright yellow color. But I didn't think I'd ever see any more very soon.

Then about a month later I saw even more of them. I chased them through that same back area of the park until I found one waiting on a tree. I quickly got several pictures until it flew away. There was actually more to that story than I told you back then. I'll finish it for you very soon. It really does have an exciting ending.

Today though I have my ultimate prize! At the very front of the same park, when I thought my adventures for the day were over, I got my best pictures ever of an American Goldfinch! I'm obviously going to share some of those with you now, but I also have some interesting information about these birds for you! I'm excited! You're excited! It's like a little yellow party!

The American Goldfinch is a small bird with a bright yellow body, with a black cap that covers the top of its head down to its eyes. It also has black wings streaked with white and a black tail. The underside of its tail is white. This bird can be found throughout most of the United states all year long.

It can also be found in the southern part of Canada, but usually only in the summer. Similarly it can be found to the south of the United States, but it will fly north in the summer. The bright yellow color of this bird is only seen in breeding season. It is a much duller color in non-breeding season. This is a very dull light brown or gray, and with a much less evident black cap. It regains the bright yellow after a complete molt of its feathers.

The best place to see these birds is a meadow atop tall flowers and other tall plants. They love eating the seeds from these plants right there on top of the plant. They will eat from sunflower seeds and thistle from a feeder. I've also seen them in other areas with tall flowers.

The nesting season of these monogamous birds is usually from July to August. They build a nest of a neatly formed bowl of grass, strips of bark, and other soft plant material in a small shrub or sapling. The female lays four to six pale blue to white eggs. The female exclusively does the work of incubation, which usually takes between ten to twelve days. The male brings food to her while she sits on the eggs.

My pictures here show their feeding behavior in action. When I took these pictures the weeds had grown very tall in the parking lot of the nature park, where I found these birds. The weeds have been cut down since I took the pictures, so I won't be getting an more of these this year.

The good news is that I still see these birds in other areas of the park, and I also have seen them roaming around flower gardens closer to home. So these birds are still doing very well around here. I also have a few plans to be able to get better bird pictures in the future, and I hope I can do it before winter hits.

That's it for this post about the American Goldfinch. I still have more to say about these birds in the future, so stay tuned. And I'll of course be back tomorrow with more exciting stories from The Everyday Adventurer!


  1. To take the pictures of birds is really a great challenge to me. Your picture on American Goldfinch is good. It is a bonus you manage to get a few.

  2. Wow..such a beautiful bird to see in the morning! What a great capture..

  3. your everyday adventure satiates my thirst in exploring a hikers paradise...

  4. The gold finch is a frequent visitor here on the west side of our fine state. Maybe it is the rural nature of our neighborhood.

  5. Nice. We have a lot of these guys around our place. The feeders really attract a lot of birds

  6. that little bird is gorgeous! look at how bright he is. great shots ratty and thanks for all the information.

    have a wonderful day...hugz!

  7. What a lovely colourful little bird. It seems to be much different from our British Goldfinch.
    I look forward to hearing more of this story.

  8. You forgot the part about how noisy these little guys are! Sheesh, they are LOUD!

  9. Oh, he is absolutely precious and you made my day by posting his photos here. Thank you.

  10. Thanks for all the info on these pretty little birds Ratty. I keep buying those finch socks for the few that hang around out in front of this building. But I seldom take my camera outside to get more photos. I better hurry up before they are gone. They are going through one of those sock feeders a week now.

  11. You got some great shots Ratty. these birds are also found in Maine.

    There's also another very amazing and beautiful bird that comes through while migrating.

    It's a small bird with markings like this except where this one is yellow the other is a bright lime green.

    On my next visit if I get lucky I will try to get a picture.

    BTW...I loved your black squirrel but my connection was poor that day and I was rushed.

    My husband, Walter, wants to know if that black squirrel is a flying squirrel?

    Because he has seen black squirrels in Texas and they are all flying squirrels.

    Hummm...this is something he's never told me. Now on his next vacation, next year, we will be headed to Texas looking fo black squirrels.

    What he means by flying is they actually have a piece of skin that goes form front elbow to back knee.

    They literally glide to the ground. Is this the same type black squirrel you had posted?

    He's been on vacation all this week and has really enjoyed visiting.

    But he has a ton of questions for everyone too!!

    Wonderful shots Ratty!! I hope you have a grand week and hopefully I'll see you tomorrow.

    If it doesn't stop raining here I am going to be out of photos!!
    Jackie and Walter:-)

  12. I love the goldfinches! They are always so sunny and perky. They cheer me up.

  13. You got a good tele lens Ratty. That goldfinch seems like just posing for you :)

  14. I have whole flocks of these congregate at my thistle and sunflower feeders here in the winter...although they are sort of olive colored then. But it's amazing to see the group dynamics!! I love the little guys...

  15. Ratty, great photos of a very beautiful little bird. I have been seeing them more and more lately but usually just flying in and out of my yard with out landing.

  16. Great pictures Ratty! I love watching the birds just "being". The post reminded me of the San Diego Wild Animal Park. My kids love to go see the Lorkeet aviary. I always wear my white,green,blue, and red sweater (same colors as the birds) and I think the birds think I am there long lost giant uncle or something because they cover me like a swarm of bees (the sweater is done for the day after that if you know what I mean).

    The post also reminded me of a scripture, hope you don't ming if I post it:

    "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
    Matthew 6:26-27 NIV

    Take Care Ratty and God Bless. You are a gift! Keep sharring!

  17. Thank you everybody for your wonderful comments on the American Goldfinch. I'm still trying to catch up with everything, and I'm still in the middle of redoing my computer, so I'll answer a few questions.

    Lin - There are so many bird noises where I find these that I don't know the difference. I'd love to know what they sound like.

    Jackie - The black squirrels here are not flying squirrels. They are actually a type of gray squirrel with extra melanistic pigment in their fur. They have a counterpart that is a completely white albino, which is more unusual. We do have flying squirrels, but they are primarily nocturnal, but not black. Since they only come out at night, I have yet to see a flying squirrel here.

    Do a search for Black Squirrels here on my blog, and you will find perhaps the most complete information on them that there is on one site on the web.

    Scott - Thanks for your scripture, Scott. It's just fine here.

  18. We had some at our thistle this spring. I need to rehang it to see if I can get more on their way through to the south. Aren't they beautiful? Thanks for the info on them. I didn't know they weren't yellow all year long. Very interesting!

  19. The Retired One - These goldfinches are now one of my favorite birds. It's the yellow that drew me to them. I think they have left me now though.