Exploring Nature: The American Goldfinch

American goldfinches breeding males are bright yellow with a black forehead and black wings with white markings. Photo by Frank Boston/Flickr

I have become so used to having American goldfinches at my feeders, I almost forget they are basically winter visitors and will soon move on north to their breeding territory.

I will miss the little rascals. They love thistle seeds, but have consented to eat black oil sunflower seeds at my place, and I appreciate their forbearance.

While here, the male will begin to change just a bit from his brown and gray feathers with a hint of yellow. By the time he is back to his northern breeding ground, he will be bright yellow with a jet black cap, a real transformation.

The female goldfinch is a great nest builder. She builds a nest that is woven so tight it will actually hold water. Unfortunately, this means her baby birds can get well soaked in a heavy rain.

The goldfinch is in no danger of extinction, with an estimated global population of some 42 million birds. Thank goodness they are doing well, because I would really miss this beautiful little bird. As it is, they will be around until sometime in May when they head north.

San Marcos Daily Record

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