About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goldfinch Fun Facts

Small Birds, Big Payoff

Goldfinches live throughout the United States and southern Canada, a fact that makes attracting them to your backyard a bit easier.

• There are three species of goldfinches found in North America, including the American, Lesser and Lawrence's.
• Though goldfinches are sometimes referred to as wild canaries, they are actually in the finch family as their name suggests.
• The genus name, Caruelis, is from the Latin word carduus, which means "thistle." Goldfinches are very dependent on thistles for food and even use thistledown to line their nests.
• To stay warm on a cold winter’s night, American Goldfinches have been known to burrow under the snow to form a cozy sleeping cavity. They will also roost together in coniferous trees or roosting pockets.
• Unlike many birds, Goldfinches completely molt their feathers twice a year, before breeding in the spring and after nesting in the fall.
• During their fall feather molting, American Goldfinches grow a new set of feathers that are much denser than their summer plumage. These soft feathers provide an additional layer of insulation to help keep them warm throughout the winter.- The color of the legs, feet and bill of the American Goldfinch change with each feather molt. In winter plumage, their legs, feet and bill are dark grayish brown. In breeding plumage they change to a buffy yellow orange color.
• Of the more than 3 million banded American Goldfinches, the oldest one ever recaptured in the wild was at least 10 years and 5 months old.
• American Goldfinches are common feeder visitors and prefer Nyjer® (thistle) and sunflower seeds.

Source: WBU Goldfinches January 2011


A Color Specialist in Charlotte said...

and they love my coneflowers too! I have so many of these beauties in my yard in the summer.

da bird boss said...

thank you for the info now i know to change my bird feed! thx and i love these beauties. and they love my coneflowers too! I have so manny of these beauties in my yard in the summer.