Backyard birds: Goldfinch at the feeder

No, he’s not particularly gold — but this is winter, and if he’s going to get his breeding plumage, it will come in a couple of weeks.

We’ve had Niger thistle seed feeders out for years; this year one goldfinch (Spinus tristis) finally started to visit.  We’ve had as many as four at a time — but they’re probably headed north soon.

Here’s a shot of our first guest, from a couple of weeks ago.

Goldfinch at the feeder

A goldfinch male, checking out the feeder before bringing in his buddies — we hope.

If you’re north of Dallas, and you see this guy at your feeder this summer, tell him “hello” from us.

The non-breeding plumage isn’t so flashy as the bright yellow of the breeding males.  Some of the finches settle in to a beautiful, smooth olive-drab livery for much of the winter.  Close up, they look like good pen-ink-drawings by a master artist.


3 Responses to Backyard birds: Goldfinch at the feeder

  1. To those that have hawks visit… I too share the same problem and have photographed them in the yard extensively. I have been posting them on my website too. I would be devastated if one took a goldfinch. They are so darn cute. I love your little visitor above. Thanks for linking to GWGT. I appreciate that kind gesture.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    We’ve been visited by hawks on a few occasions, but they’ve never parked. About two weeks ago the gaggle of more than a score of white-winged doves who push out the little songbirds, got panicked and flew off in all different directions — three of them hitting the kitchen window and leaving wing prints. Then a very large bird swooped down, missed lunch, and spent a few minutes in the tree nearest the main feeders.

    For a few days the song-birds weren’t bothered as much by the doves at the feeders.

    They’re back, now.


  3. had many of hundreds of small birds including goldfinches once. Cost about £200 a year in feed.
    Then a year ago a sparrowhawk noticed the plump little birdies and decided to stake out our residence.

    It is a pretty bird and makes an interesting, but quick, spectacle as it dives in for the blue tits on the feeder.
    Result a few tens of small birds (and getting fewer by the week!). Should save money next year I suppose.


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