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.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Goldfinches: Small Birds, Big Payoff

Performing a variety of aerial acrobatics, goldfinches seem destined more for the Big Top than the backyard. As they swoop from one invisible peak to another, you’re reminded of a certain circus counterpart who could also “fly through the air with the greatest of ease.” But as exciting as these daredevil flights are, they’re only part of what make a goldfinch worth watching.

Goldfinches live throughout the United States and southern Canada, a fact that makes attracting them to your backyard a bit easier. Though goldfinches carry the reputation of being finicky eaters, you’ll have no problem finding a suitable offering that will please their palate. Goldfinches love to eat fresh Nyjer® (thistle).

If the finches stop eating after the feeder is half empty, don't wait for them to finish their plate because they won't. Goldfinches are notorious for leaving a tube feeder half full. To keep your birds happy you have to empty the older seed (if it's still good) into a different container, fill the bottom of your feeder with new seed and top it off with the older seed. The birds will probably eat down to that certain level again and you'll have to repeat the process.
In early fall, the male goldfinches molt into duller winter colors that resemble the female's soft olive green and subdued yellow tones. And just when it seems as though winter will last forever, the male goldfinch forecasts spring’s arrival with the reappearance of its glamorous buttery yellow. Male or female, the goldfinch’s striking features are always pleasing to the eye and make any backyard distinctly more colorful.

American Goldfinches do not nest until mid- to late-summer, long after most birds have started their families. In July and August, after the male has serenaded the female with canary-like songs, goldfinches begin to nest for the first and only time of the year. The location of the nest is usually fi ve to 10 feet high in trees or shrubs and often near a water source. The delay in nesting affords bird enthusiasts the opportunity to focus their attention on goldfinches during this exciting time of song and activity, especially since other birds are less active because of their new family lives.

Related articles:
What is Nyger Thistle? http://t.co/Gg2AxQg
Where are my finches? http://t.co/FRqa7eo
Goldfinch colors: Why aren't all the goldfinches yellow? http://t.co/c57skHi
Is There a Way to Attract More Goldfinches to My Yard? http://t.co/RB1cqWf

Source: WBU-Bird of the Month

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