Goldfinches Getting Ready for Summer

American Goldfinches have been active at the feeders lately. Over the weekend Judy took some photographs of male Goldfinches that show them almost done with molting out of their winter plumage, which is a dull gray.

American Goldfinches at the nyjer feeder.
American Goldfinches at the nyjer feeder.

Some time ago I wrote a post about why male Goldfinches are golden, which you can read here.

Goldfinches
Goldfinches

Basically, it’s all about attracting the lady Goldfinches. In reality it is not summer they are getting ready for, but the mating season.

Male American Goldfinch in winter.
Male American Goldfinch in winter.

Here’s what the male goldfinch looks like in winter.

Molting male American Goldfinch.
Molting male American Goldfinch.

And here’s he is early on in the molting process.

Female American Goldfinch
Female American Goldfinch

The females don’t bother with bright colors. It’s the males who have to prove themselves, apparently. Whether this is fair or not I leave to the judgement of others.

Goldfinch having an argument with a Dark-Eyed Junco.
Goldfinch having an argument with a Dark-Eyed Junco.

Though they are more skittish around people than the chickadees, goldfinches are still endearing little birds.

They agree to disagree.
They agree to disagree.

They have an odd, bouncy way of flying and a chattering song, which you can listen to here.

Do you have Goldfinches in your garden?

48 Comments on “Goldfinches Getting Ready for Summer”

  1. The birds here are patiently waiting…once our snow melts and there are patches of garden showing, the birds will descend in big groups and especially the goldfinches with the juncos getting at the remaining seeds. I love watching goldfinches eat seed from flower heads and they do their crazy acrobatics.

  2. Great post and pictures. I do think the rule of thumb is the one who sits on the nest is the drabber of any bird species, so as to attract less attention. At least it works that way with the opposite, when the males tend the nest, the females are the flashy ones. 🙂

  3. We see the occasional little yellow bird, but they are always so fast-moving that ID is impossible. Guess it’s time to put up the kind of feeder that attracts them. Our most colorful visitor is the varied thrush, a larger bird with beautiful markings and lots of orange.

  4. Our Goldfinches are different to yours Jason, the male and female have a red splash on their face, it’s hard to tell them apart, the female has slightly less red and both have yellow wing parts. They do not have such a dramatic moult and colour change as yours. I enjoyed your link to the birdsong too and judy’s lovely photos.

  5. Hello Jason, you seem to get all the wonderful and exotic birds in your garden while we’ve only just managed to have bluetits and robins become comfortable with the feeders. It’s been a very slow process but in the meantime, I’m happy to look at your amazing pictures.

  6. There is no distinction between the male and female goldfinch here (Carduelis carduelis) and I’m so glad that they have returned to my garden too.
    Judy captured those birds beautifully Jason and I think in his winter coat he more resembles our female Chaffinch than anything else.

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