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, August 5, 2014

Why all the female goldfinches disappeared

Female gathering cotton nesting material
I’m seeing a lot of bright yellow male finches at the feeders without the females. Are they on the nest? - Haslett, Michigan

Yes, Female American Goldfinches are the primary nest sitters. They build their nests a few feet off the ground from twigs and branches found in nearby trees and and line it with soft material like cotton beginning in mid-July. Females lay 2 to 7 eggs per clutch and incubate the eggs for about 2 weeks while males bring food to the nest and feed females via regurgitation.

Newborn American Goldfinches are usually naked or have hardly any feathers and weigh less than a dime. After the chicks hatch, males take on more of the responsibility for looking after the chicks. Females chase intruders away from the nest, forage, and return to feed the chicks through regurgitation. After 8 days, chicks are technically independent. They can fly in an average of 2 weeks but remain dependent on their parents for roughly 3 or 4 additional weeks. 
Related Articles:
European Goldfinches http://bit.ly/Q2Cu37
Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/MzGSPD
Are Goldfinches here in the winter? http://bit.ly/PZu5ML
Goldfinches: The Last Birds Nesting http://bit.ly/PZuejj
Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a