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, September 14, 2014

Goldfinch Interplay

Hello, I have noticed that goldfinches have been extraordinary playful by my niger seed feeders. They flutter up and down, mid-air, in close range to each other. I have also noticed one goldfinch on a tree next to the feeder chirping and fluttering non-stop while the others are eating. Any significance with these behaviors? Jim
If you love watching bird behavior, there is nothing more fun than the American Goldfinches. These small bright yellow and black birds have a roller-coaster flight and a lovely song. They roam from garden to garden making the flowers dance as they eat seed heads until late summer when they choose a territory where they will nest.

While most birds have finished nesting and some are flying south, the goldfinches delay the start of their nesting behavior until the thistles and other flowers come into bloom so they can anticipate an abundant and reliable supply of seeds for their young.

The immature American goldfinch has a dull brown back, and the underside is pale yellow. The shoulders and tail are dull black with two buff-colored wing bars, rather than an adult’s white. This coloration is the same in both male and female.

If you still aren’t sure if it is a baby or a female goldfinch, look at the feathers. Young American Goldfinches have fine, clean feathers and the adults will look worn out as they molt their feathers for winter. Babies are also very noisy begging and fluttering their wings constantly for their parents to feed them.

With the incessant demands of the little ones for food, there are often squabbles at the feeders for perches. I have 5 finch feeders, regular feeders full of Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess blend and a lot of natural foods like coneflowers and they still are pecking for positions. They are one of my favorite birds.