Monday, April 25, 2011

Glorious Goldfinch

I saw my first goldfinch in the Berkshires hills in Massachusetts. How glorious it was – neon against the deep green pines. I think it helped awaken me to the joy of observing birds. Now I see goldfinches regularly on the feeders each spring; it is the New Jersey state bird. Familiarity does not diminish its impact, however. This is one beautiful bird! The male, of course, is the most brilliantly colored in it eye-catching golden yellow. It is hard for this bird to hide in the bushes. The female is less vibrantly colored though not without interest. She is a dusky yellow that requires a moment to define yet still is lovely.

They are seed eaters. I know they like thistle seeds but they seem pretty happy eating the black oil sunflower seeds that we provide all year round. Sometimes we have several goldfinch families vying for seed on the feeders. They are sociable birds and gather in groups. They hang out with the house finches, too.

Goldfinches build nests a little later than most birds because that’s when the seeds ripen. We discovered a nest about five feet off the ground, tucked into the branches of our forsythia bush. We kept a respectful distance until the nest was empty but then it was a welcome reminder all through the snowy winter that no matter the weather spring, and nests, will come again.

The male goldfinch is easy to spot if you want to interest kids in bird watching. Here is a free printable coloring page for the kids:

1 comment:

  1. Finches were, of course, abundant when we visited the Galapagus Islands but I don't think we saw any that were such a brilliant color. No wonder it awakened you to the joys of bird watching.