Thursday, March 18, 2010

Goldfinches Are Molting

Things are looking much brighter at the feeder stations. Not because there's less cloud cover, which is generally not the case this week at least, but because our American Goldfinches are undergoing their spring molt. I first noticed the eldest male showing signs of bright yellow plumage late in February. Now the entire flock is switching over. It shouldn't take more than a couple of more weeks before the transformation is complete. Already they're outclassing the Pine Warblers for intensity of yellow. But with the summer wardrobe comes that burning question I have learned to ask myself in recent years. Do I get to enjoy the sight of Goldfinches in summer? In both 2008 and 2009 I didn't see much of them. For whatever reasons the resident flock moved elsewhere for the warm months. I assumed the attraction of weed seeds took them out of the dull suburban cul-de-sacs. Now I have another warm season to test this theory. But I will tempt them! the thistle bags have been out for many weeks and the finches are working them very hard. Will it be enough to keep me on the daily patrol?

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