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.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Photo Share: American Goldfinch losing their yellow

The American Goldfinches are starting to look a little ragged right now. If you see fluffy brownish finches, they are probably babies!

Many people don't realize that the Goldfinches are not bright yellow all year. In fact they are the only finch in North America to go through a complete molt two times a year. In the fall the male loses his bright yellow feathers and black cap and switches to a duller olive green wardrobe with dark, blackish wings and pale wing bars.

The male, female, and juvenile goldfinches have a similar duller olive green wardrobe during the late fall and winter months. The color of the legs, feet and bill of the American Goldfinch change with each feather molt too. In winter plumage, their legs, feet and bill are dark grayish brown. In breeding plumage they change to a buffy yellow orange color.

Because they are found year-round at Michigan bird feeders, it is always a good time to put up a finch feeder. But this is really the best time because they need extra food for the change in feathers and raising young. They eat sunflower and Nyjer® Thistle at the feeders. The photo shows them on my Aspects Big Tube filled with Wild Birds Unlimited No-mess blend birdseed.

Babies!
I love the happy, warm, song of the goldfinches especially in the cold months. I love the huge flocks of finches that flutter down from the tops of trees as they take their turn at the feeder. I love that I can hang the feeder anywhere because squirrels and other animals don't bother with Nyjer® Thistle. And once you understand the goldfinches' needs, they are easy to please and very pleasing to watch. 

Related Articles:
Nyjer (thistle) isn't related to Canada Thistle http://bit.ly/Nt8Xxu
Goldfinch Migration http://bit.ly/MzGSPD
Are Goldfinches here in the winter? http://bit.ly/PZu5ML
Bird of the week: American Goldfinch http://bit.ly/PZum2a

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