Female and Male American Goldfinches
For my Fourth of July blog, I would like to talk about the American Goldfinch.
American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year--once in late winter and again in late summer. The brightening, yellow of male goldfinches each spring is one welcome mark of approaching warm months.
American Goldfinches breed later than most North American birds. They wait to nest until June or July when milkweed, thistle, and other plants have produced their fibrous seeds, which goldfinches incorporate into their nests and also feed their young.
When Brown-headed Cowbirds lay eggs in an American Goldfinch nest, the cowbird egg may hatch but the nestling seldom survives longer than three days. The cowbird chick simply can’t survive on the all-seed diet that goldfinches feed their young.
Goldfinches move south in winter following a pattern that seems to coincide with regions where the minimum January temperature is no colder than 0 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
The oldest known American Goldfinch lived to be 10 years 5 months old.
Paired-up goldfinches make virtually identical flight calls; goldfinches may be able to distinguish members of various pairs by these calls.