Well Gethin, you may start rejoicing and doing the jig, looks like I am coming very close to the last of the colorful birds around my yard.
Mr. Finch seems to be one of the last of the neighborhood newbies. He came for a visit, and liked it enough to come back a second time.
But then poof!
He has gone to never come back......hopefully not the case, but so far no signs of him.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) is a small songbird approximately 5” in size, the male in the summer time has a bright canary yellow body with black wings. forehead and tail. Female birds in the summer are a dull olive color, with black wings and noticeable wing bars. Both sexes have short conical bills.
Primarily seed eaters. Will also eat aphids and caterpillars in the summer. Prefer the seeds of Ragweed, Thistles, Sweet gum, Sunflower, Dandelion, Alder, Goldenrod, Coneflower, Maples, Timothy Grass, Yellow Poplar, and Pine.
The American Goldfinch is one of the last birds to breed in the summer, from late July to September. Goldfinches usually only produce one brood per season of four to six eggs. The female builds the nest, and incubates the eggs by herself. The eggs hatch in about 13 to 14 days, with the young staying in the nest another 14 days. The male does help the female in raising the young.
- American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer. The brightening yellow of male goldfinches each spring is one welcome mark of approaching warm months.
- Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.
- When Brown-headed Cowbirds lay eggs in an American Goldfinch nest, the cowbird egg may hatch but the nestling seldom survives longer than three days. The cowbird chick simply can’t survive on the all-seed diet that goldfinches feed their young.
Goldfinches move south in winter following a pattern that seems to coincide with regions where the minimum January temperature is no colder than 0 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
The oldest known American Goldfinch was 10 years 9 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in Maryland.