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, July 17, 2012

Three species of Goldfinches found in North America

Male and female American Goldfinches
Together the American Goldfinch and their relatives the LesserGoldfinch and Lawrence's Goldfinch, form a group of goldfinches in America.

Goldfinches can be found throughout most of North America. In Michigan we are lucky enough to have the American Goldfinches year round in our area. These bright yellow and black birds have the largest range and can be found in most areas of the United States and the southern regions of Canada.

The other two goldfinches in the U.S. are found more in the southwest. The Lesser Goldfinch lives in the larger portion of the western States and Mexico and the Lawrence's Goldfinch breeds in California and Baja California and winters in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.
Lesser Goldfinch male

Fun Facts on Goldfinches:
- Due to their almost exclusive diet of seeds, the goldfinches drink frequently and will stay close to reliable sources of water during dry periods.
- Unlike many birds, goldfinches molt their body feathers twice a year, in the spring before breeding and after nesting in the fall.
- Goldfinches are sometimes referred to as wild canaries, but 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 vegetarians and are dependent on flower seeds for food and even use plant down to line their nests.
- Young goldfinches are dependent on their parents for at least three weeks after fledging. Be sure to watch and listen for their energetic begging as they harass their parents for food at your feeders.
Lawrence's Goldfinch male
- Male Lesser Goldfinches in the eastern part of their range in the U.S. tend to have black backs. Along the West Coast, their backs are green, with only a black cap. Elsewhere, the amount of black varies, with many birds having partly green backs. South of central Mexico, all of the males are black-backed.
- The Lesser Goldfinch is the smallest of the North American goldfinches at 4.5″ compared with the slightly larger Lawrence’s and the American Goldfinch at 5″.
- Lawrence's Goldfinch was named by John Cassin in 1850 for his colleague George Lawrence, a New York businessman and ornithologist.
- Unlike most migratory birds, Lawrence's Goldfinch moves mostly to the east and west, rather than northward and southward, between seasons.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

.thanks for sharing