American Goldfinch

March 8th, 2019: Just the usual winter suspects…

The past couple of weeks have been decidedly dreary from a birding perspective. There’s little to no open water anywhere, incredible cold, wind, and lots of snow makes it hard to get out birding. It’s also tough to find anything beyond the usual winter passerines, woodpeckers, jays, crows, and cardinals.

That said, there’s good variety of passerines of woodpeckers. I never get tired of hearing the occasional Pileated Woodpecker or Northern Flicker “laughing” from a tree trunk. The yellow-shafted (Eastern) subspecies of Northern Flicker is particularly nice to hear since I’m so accustomed to the red-shafted western birds’ calls.

Then there are the passerines. Mostly finches. I hear House Finch, American Goldfinch, and lots Pine Siskin most days on my walk to work (far fewer Common Redpoll in this area than there were last year). The siskins’ calls are probably my favorites of the bunch. But I love hearing the clean, clear, liquid American Goldfinch flight calls as they pass by (usually WAY overhead). They’re a relatively prominent part of the soundscape pretty much year round here, but not a bird one easily tires of. In case you’re interested: these are easy birds to get to your feeder with sunflower and nyjer.

American Goldfinch in Vancouver in the spring
American Goldfinch in Vancouver in the spring

I do get a little stir crazy with the poor weather and I wait excitedly for spring, which I think will come eventually. Though the rapid accumulation of snow outside as I type suggests otherwise. I’m also excited because spring will come early for me next week when I have a few birding days in the New Orleans area!! I can’t wait!

American Goldfinch at Iona Island in the spring
American Goldfinch at Iona Island in the spring

P.S. I recently found a copy of my journal from when I was 11 and one of the few entries about birds remarks on how a particular American Goldfinch (which had obviously caught my attention) was relatively “tame.” Clearly it’s very easy to be taken with these birds and its fun to think back on the boy who’d been captivated by this bird without knowing how strongly that interest would return in about 17 years.

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