Harbinger of Spring

As long as we kept a fresh supply of sunflower and thistle seeds, we saw one or two brave olive-colored American goldfinches visiting the feeder over the winter. Our winter finches have recently been joined by a larger number of goldfinches just returning to the area and, wow, they are a breath of sunshine in their fresh new yellow feathers, a sure sign of spring.

The males undergo a complete molt of body feathers in the spring, transforming from drab olive green to bright yellow, their breeding plumage. Our friend below still has patches of drab feathers in spots but by May, he should be fully transformed into a striking bright yellow bird. Breeding begins in June when thistle begins to mature in the fields.

Welcome back, good-looking!

American Goldfinch

6 thoughts on “Harbinger of Spring

  1. One of our favorites. We use the upside-down thistle feeder, since these guys like to hang upside down, and keeps other birds off their feeder, well, except for the occasional chickadee who also knows how to eat upside down.

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