Sunday, May 8, 2011

Bird a Day: American Goldfinch

American Goldfinches are native to every state in the country and is the state bird of New Jersey, Washington, and Iowa.  They often visit bird feeders, favoring thistle seed the most.  These birds are strict vegetarians and rarely eat insects, even in the summer.  When they are parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds the chicks rarely survive because of the all seed diet the goldfinches feed their chicks.  You can find American Goldfinches in almost any type of habitat besides thick forest.  They like weedy fields, forest edge, gardens, and suburban yards. 

Female American Goldifnch

Female American Goldifnch
Female American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch male

American Goldfinch male
Male American Goldfinch

In summer the male goldfinch is a bright yellow with a black cap and wings.  The females are yellow but not as bright as the males and lack a black cap.  In winter both sexes are plain like the summer female.  They are very small birds and often travel in groups, especially near favored food resources like sunflowers and thistles.  They have an undulating flight and make a call that sounds like po-ta-to-chip in flight.  This is a contact call used to communicate with other finches.


Dale said...

There are a lot of different bird species, and one of my favorites is the Goldfinch. They look unique because of their colorful feathers.

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