Seed Lover

Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)

This young Lesser Goldfinch found seeds of interest on this wild grass in the Nature Area on the north side of the park. It isn’t very picky — it will eat the seeds of dozens of different plants, as well as fruits and berries where available, and it comes to feeders. It very rarely eats insects. There is speculation that human settlement has benefited this versatile and adaptable bird, or at least protected it from major population declines.

This bird may well be the same individual I photographed a bit earlier, see “More Dry Birds,” Oct 14 2022. The two locations where I spotted them were only about 100 yards apart, both in the northern half of the park.

The Lesser Goldfinch has baffled ornithologists with its movements. It makes its nests over a wide area from British Columbia down into South America. There isn’t a clear north-south mass migration pattern as with many other birds. These finches tend to wander a lot, roaming in unpredictable ways.

One key requirement is water. They need to drink several times a day. They’ll take advantage of human water sources such as birdbaths, animal watering containers, and leaky plumbing.

Lesser Goldfinches are brilliant singers. They can copy the songs of other birds and blend them into their own songs. Most of that singing happens during courtship and breeding, but some will also sing in winter. I’m hoping.

Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria)

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One thought on “Seed Lover

  • We have these lovely little birds coming frequently to our feeders off our deck. I keep them supplied with seeds and water and they keep me happy by just coming around and chirping!

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