American Goldfinch of Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
THE AMERICAN GOLDFINCH
“Look, Mamma, look!” cried a little boy, as one day late in June my mate and I alighted on a thistle already going to seed. “Such a lovely bird! How jolly he looks, with that black velvet hat drawn over his eyes!”
“That’s a Goldfinch,” replied his mamma; “sometimes called the Jolly Bird, the Thistle Bird, the Wild Canary, and the Yellow Bird. He belongs to the family of Weed Warriors, and is very useful.”
“He sings like a Canary,” said Bobbie. “Just hear him talking to that little brown bird alongside of him.”
That was my mate, you see, who is rather plain looking, so to please him I sang my best song, “Per-chic-o-ree, per-chic-o-ree.”
“That sounds a great deal better,” said Bobbie; “because it’s not sung by a little prisoner behind cage bars, I guess.”
“It certainly is wilder and more joyous,” said his mamma. “He is very happy just now, for he and his mate are preparing for housekeeping. Later on, he will shed his lemon-yellow coat, and then you won’t be able to tell him from his mate and little ones.”
“How they are gobbling up that thistle-down,” cried Bobbie. “Just look!”
“Yes,” said his mamma, “the fluff carries the seed, like a sail to which the seed is fastened. By eating the seed, which otherwise would be carried by the wind all over the place, these birds do a great amount of good. The down they will use to line their nests.”
“How I should like to peep into their nest,” said Bobbie; “just to peep, you know; not to rob it of its eggs, as boys do who are not well brought up.”
My mate and I were so pleased at that, we flew off a little way, chirping and chattering as we went.
“Up and down, up and down,” said Bobbie; “how prettily they fly.”
“Yes,” said his mamma; “that is the way you can always tell a Goldfinch when in the air. A dip and a jerk, singing as he flies.”
“What other seeds do they eat, mamma?” presently asked Bobbie.
“The seeds of the dandelion, the sunflower, and wild grasses generally. In the winter, when these are not to be had, the poor little fellows have a very hard time. People with kind hearts, scatter canary seed over their lawns to the merry birds for their summer songs, and for keeping down the weeds.”
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH.—Spinus tristis. Other names: “Yellow-bird,” “Thistle-bird.”
Range—Eastern North America; breeds from South Carolina to southern Labrador; winters from the northern United States to the Gulf.
Nest—Externally, of fine grasses, strips of bark and moss, thickly lined with thistle down; in trees or bushes, five to thirty feet up.
Eggs—Three to six, pale bluish white.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) on Thistle by Fenton
Therefore I love Your commandments Above gold, yes, above fine gold. (Psalms 119:127 NASB)
This article is from Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897. We have been revisiting the birds and giving more current information about them.
The American Goldfinch is a member of the Fringillidae – Finches Family. It is alway a joy to see them come to my feeders.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) Male and Female ©WikiC
The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis), also known as the Eastern Goldfinch and Wild Canary, is a small North American bird in the finch family. It is migratory, ranging from mid-Alberta to North Carolina during the breeding season, and from just south of the Canadian border to Mexico during the winter.
The American Goldfinch male is a vibrant yellow in the summer and an olive color during the winter months, while the female is a dull yellow-brown shade which brightens only slightly during the summer. The male displays brightly colored plumage during the breeding season to attract a mate.
The American Goldfinch is a granivore and created for the consumption of seedheads, with a conical beak to remove the seeds and agile feet to grip the stems of seedheads while feeding. It is a social bird, and will gather in large flocks while feeding and migrating. It may behave territorially during nest construction, but this aggression is short-lived. Its breeding season is tied to the peak of food supply, beginning in late July, which is relatively late in the year for a finch. This species is generally monogamous, and produces one brood each year.
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) Female ©WikiC
The American Goldfinch is a small finch, 4.3–5.5 in (11–14 centimeters) long, with a wingspan of 7.5–8.7 in (19–22 centimeters). The beak is small, conical, and pink for most of the year, but turns bright orange with the spring molt in both sexes. The shape and size of the beak aid in the extraction of seeds from the seed heads of thistles, sunflowers, and other plants.
The American Goldfinch undergoes a molt in the spring and autumn, which it undergoes twice a year. During the winter molt it sheds all its feathers; in the spring, it sheds all but the wing and tail feathers, which are dark brown in the female and black in the male. The markings on these feathers remain through each molt, with bars on the wings and white under and at the edges of the short, notched tail. The plumage coloration is especially pronounced after the spring molt, when the bright color of the male’s summer plumage is needed to attract a mate.
Once the spring molt is complete, the body of the male is a brilliant lemon yellow with a striking jet black cap and white rump that is visible during flight.] The female is mostly brown, lighter on the underside with a yellow bib. After the autumn molt, the bright summer feathers are replaced by duller plumage, becoming buff below and olive-brown above, with a pale yellow face and bib. The autumn plumage is almost identical in both sexes, but the male has yellow shoulder patches. In some winter ranges, the goldfinches lose all traces of yellow, becoming a predominantly medium tan-gray color with an olive tinge evident only on close viewing.
The immature American Goldfinch has a dull brown back, and the underside is pale yellow. The shoulders and tail are dull black with buff-colored, rather than white, markings on wings and rump. This coloration is the same in both genders.
The song of the American Goldfinch is a series of musical warbles and twitters, often with a long note. A tsee-tsi-tsi-tsit call is often given in flight; it may also be described as per-chic-o-ree. While the female incubates the eggs, she calls to her returning mate with a soft continuous teeteeteeteete sound. The young begin to use a call of chick-kee or chick-wee shortly before fledging, which they use until they have left the nest entirely. There are two defense calls made by adults during nesting; a sweeet call made to rally other goldfinches to the nest and distract predators, and a bearbee used to signal to the nestlings to quiet them and get them to crouch down in the nest to become less conspicuous. (Wikipedia with editing)
Here is the sound of an American Goldfinch by Andrew Spencer (xeno-canto)
American Goldfinch – All About Birds
American Goldfinch – WhatBird
American Goldfinch – National Geographic
American Goldfinch – Wikipedia