Showing posts with label American Goldfinch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Goldfinch. Show all posts

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Wild Canary (AMERICAN GOLDFINCH)

Growing up in the Northeast and spending most of my time in the country it was always a big deal to spot certain wildlife. We would drive through the country and try to spot groundhogs, turkeys, and deer. We also looked for hawks and woodpeckers and our favorite types of birds. I was always partial to the Wild Canary which is also known as the American Goldfinch.

American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis, Fort Eri...
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis,  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Wild Canary is a very pretty bright yellow with a touch of black on their face and wings. However, not all of them display such a splendid yellow hue. Many of them are more of a greenish tint with a hint of brown. We didn't see them all that often so it was a real treat when we did.

This small bird is part of the finch family. In bird terms, it is a 'passerine' bird. The passerines are perching birds and belong to the order of the Passeriformes. This means they have 4 toes with 3 pointed forwards and one backward for gripping and perching.

Passerines make up around 60% of all bird species. The Passerine species are very extensive and very diverse.

Wild Canary Breeding And Diet
The Wild Canaries are monogamous breeders. They breed mostly in cultivated fields full of weeds and in deciduous woodland areas. The number of broods per season is 2.

They feed on berries, floral buds, grass, and the seeds from deciduous trees. They are ground gleaners. The chicks are fed a diet of insects and regurgitated milky seed pulp.




Nesting And Eggs
The Wild Canary usually makes its nest in the fork of a tree branch. They weave their nests to tightly they will repel water. They build their nests out of pliable vegetation and then line them with plant down. They will make use of spider silk or caterpillar webbing to bind up the nest's outer rim.

While nest construction is going on the males will many times gather nesting materials and bring them to the female who applies them to her home. They prefer to build their nests near water sources. The male will also bring food to the female while she sits the nest. Females might sit on the nest up to 95% of the time being dependent on the male for their food supply.


The males display 'nest-site' tenacity and will defend their nests fervently.

The eggs are of a bluish-white or pale blue color and are unmarked. They measure about 16mm in diameter. The incubation period lasts from 10 to 12 days. The chicks are born Altricial which means no feathers, blind, and totally helpless.

The hatching of the eggs is asynchronous. The older birds tend to nest earlier than the younger.

Wintering For The Wild Canary
These little beauties head south for the winter to Northern Mexico. You can find them all along the coast of Veracruz. They commonly join in with flocks of up to 300 birds during winter migrations.

The Wild Canary has always been, and will always be, something I look forward to seeing and enjoying each and every year.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bird Feeding: Attracting the AMERICAN GOLDFINCH

Also known as the American Canary, the American Goldfinch is just about the brightest flash of color you can get at your feeder and they often sing a beautiful song - even in flight! Another plus for this bird is just how easy you can get a whole flock at your feeder!

American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis, Fort Eri...
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis,
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)

Goldfinches are social birds that inhabit nearly all of North America year round. Naturally seed eaters, these guys can be found in open fields, the edges of forests and backyards.

Experienced bird feeders will recognize the goldfinch as part of a group known as "clingers." These birds prefer not to use traditional perches but will cling at all angles to get at their food source. This is an important consideration when choosing feeders for these guys. Other notable clingers are woodpeckers, chickadees and nuthatches.

These birds naturally eat small seeds so thistle (nyjer) is one of their ultimate favorites. You can also feed them finely crushed sunflower hearts by themselves or with thistle mixed in. Mine love the nyjer and hearts mixed together.

Good feeders for these guys can have specialized perches or spirals running the length of the feeder or have a custom design that only goldfinches would use.

Aspects actually makes a tube feeder with the seed ports below the perch. Goldfinches don't take issue at all with having to feed upside down and you keep birds such as sparrows and house finches from taking over and forcing the goldies out.

Another great way to feed them is with a thistle sock. Just fill the sock with thistle, hang it and enjoy! Anywhere from 4-12 birds can cling to the sides and feed depending on the length of the sock.

Mesh feeders are a more and more popular way of providing food for goldfinches as well. The fine mesh walls of these feeders both provide a great place to latch onto while feeding but the seed is also held securely in the feeder but easy for the birds to pluck out with their beaks. I included a picture of a Birds Choice mesh feeder below.

Their mating behavior is also a little different from other birds. They prefer to nest in mid to late summer instead of in the spring. This is because they time their young to hatch when the thistle seed is ready to eat. Goldfinches can be found nesting through August. Providing nesting materials in your yard could encourage them to take up residence nearby!



As I said earlier, goldfinches stay in most of their range all year round but a lot of people don't realize they are still around. The finches actually lose their bright yellow color in the winter and turn a nice shade of olive brown. A lot of people just assume they are sparrows. Goldfinches will actually come to your feeders in much larger numbers in the fall and winter in search of food so its a great time to get large flocks of them!