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Posts Tagged ‘american goldfinches’

I put a galvanized bucket by a shed this afternoon (2/10). It had a few sunflower seeds and a few oat grans in the bottom. The American Goldfinches found the bucket and began cleaning it out; which I thought was funny – they show no fear. I guessed they were starved and went to town to get more nijer seed and filled the feeders this  afternoon. Not great photos had to grab the nearest camera:

 

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They are so beautiful ! Not much molting is evident to their more subdued fall-winter coloration yet (female top – male bottom):

 

 

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They’re back after 6 weeks of nesting; they’re are plenty of babies too:

 

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The American Goldfinches are busy nesting now. They nest later than other songbirds each year (usually late June – early July). They wait until the native seed crop is plentiful and then disappear from thistle tube feeders for about one month; only to return in late July – August with their fledglings. I photographed this male American Goldfinch pulling seeds from a native thistle seed head yesterday, and the one above in a valley with piles of deadwood where they often nest:

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I have been feeding the American Goldfinches all winter long (since November 15) and I probably have about 150-200 finches at this time. Very few House and Purple finches have visited the feeders so far. I have 4 tube feeders with Nijer Seed and they are always full of hungry finches. This has cost me $120+ per month this year. There are 2 River Birches that they line up on; in a feeding queue, and wait their turn at the feeders. It becomes really chaotic at times.

Lately there has been more fights and and quarrels than in past weeks; they are also beginning to show some yellow from an ongoing molt. These birds do not nest until late summer; when the seeds are plentiful, but will take Nijer seed all year around. American Goldfinch males will turn bright yellow within 30-45 days and the females will stay an olive-yellow color. The males also have a completely black forehead after the molt is complete.

 

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These photos are a week old now; from back when the sun used to shine (its been mostly cloudy for a week now and unseasonably cold too), 28F again this morning. These are of American Goldfinches just beginning to molt to yellow; with 5 weeks they will be bright yellow. The mourning cloak was in the snow at Richland Creek, two weeks ago. I took the Goldfinch photos in my yard with a telephoto lens about Feb 20th, 2013:

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