If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By Sandra Ebeling
September is winding down, and October’s bright blue weather will soon be with us.
Those days are full of blowing corn shucks, October bright blue weather, and leaves turning every color.
You may also hear the familiar sound of the American Goldfinch.
They are late nesters and are out and about this time of year. They feed mainly on seeds, especially those of thistles, goldenrods, and other weedy plants.
This food is not abundant until the summer is fairly well advanced, so the Goldfinch puts off its nesting season until then.
Using plant fibers, this sweet bird weaves nests that are almost water tight; in heavy rain, nestlings not protected by their parents have been known to drown.
The male is a bright yellow with black forehead, black tail, and black on edge of wings; rump and wing bars are white.
Female and non-breeding males are duller with some gray or greenish; tail and wings black; wings have white bars.
They mainly live in thickets, streamside willows, weedy grasslands, and deciduous trees; most of the time avoiding open areas. The Goldfinch is the State bird of New Jersey, and Iowa. They are sociable and feed in flocks small and large.
They molt twice a year, in spring and fall. They lay their eggs so late in the summer, when the seeds it eats are abundant, so they can afford to molt in spring and fall.
They are also one of the few birds that are almost completely vegetarian, eating very few insects.
In winter, they satisfy their need for water by eating snow and sometimes roosting under the snow to make insulation for their body heat.
They will keep you busy in the winter time filling the feeders with black oil sunflower seed. They chatter and you can always tell when they are near the feeder. I have been hearing them the last week in the yard and trees.
They will also sometimes feed in the summer here on dandelion that have gone to seed. Keep in mind the end of hummingbird season is fast approaching.
I will keep my feeders out until October 1, and you may see a few here and there after that, but for the most part they will be well on the way south getting ready to cross the Gulf of Mexico wintering in either south Mexico or across Central American to Panama.
They will need their energy levels high. Enjoy them while you can.
Until next time, good birdwatching