|Male in summer|
So anyway, we think the goldfinches come to our yard because they like our bird bath. And maybe they go in somebody else's yard to get some nice seeds to eat. Sometimes we will see 5 or 6 goldfinches on our birdbath at one time. They don't usually take baths, they just get a drink. And then they fly up and sit on the electric wires that are above the bird bath. Or else they go sit in the big oak tree in our neighbors' yard. And they do a lot of twittering and chirping and carrying on in a birdlike way.
The kind of goldfinch we have here is called the American Goldfinch, and sometimes it is also called the Eastern Goldfinch or the Wild Canary. The scientific name for this bird is Carduelis tristis. The word carduelis comes from carduus, which is Latin for "thistle." And tristis is Latin for "sad." So I guess you could say the goldfinch's name means "sad thistle" or maybe "sad thistle-eater."
|Male in winter|
The kinds of places where goldfinches like to live are fields and meadows, and also roadsides, orchards, and gardens. The reason they like these open sorts of places is because lots of plants with yummy seeds grow there. Goldfinches are what are called granivores, and that means they mostly only eat seeds. Here are some of the seeds they like best: thistle, teasel, dandelion, ragweed, mullein, cosmos, goatsbeard, sunflower, and alder. Sometimes they also eat insects because insects have protein in them. And other things they sometimes eat are tree buds, maple sap, and berries. Goldfinches have beaks that are very good for getting hold of seeds, and they can also use their feet to hang upside down or move seed heads around to where they can reach them better.
|Yellow = summer-only range|
Green = year-round range
Blue = winter-only range
The nest is woven so tightly that it is actually waterproof. So if there is a heavy rainstorm, the baby birds could drown in the nest. Which is why the mom and dad birds have to cover the nest and keep the rain out.
|Male feeding female on nest|
The female goldfinch lays 4 to 6 eggs which are bluish-white and about the size of a peanut. Then she sits on them until they hatch, which takes between 12 and 14 days. The male brings food to the female, but he doesn't do any egg-sitting himself. The chicks are naked when they are born, and they don't open their eyes for the first 3 days. But they grow some feathers within a couple of weeks, and then they start learning to fly. Their daddy feeds them for about 3 weeks after they grow their feathers, and then after that they are on their own.
|"What did you bring us, Daddy?"|