Goldfinches are molting

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Goldfinches are molting

Postby PapaRon » Wed Sep 09, 2009 9:54 pm

Noticed the past few days that many of the male American goldfinches are starting to molt into their drab winter colors.

They are a patch or quilt work of bright and dull.

Another sign of autumn :-(

Ron
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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby sweetlebee » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:25 pm

Do the lesser goldfinch and juvenile/female goldfinches look similar? We get six or seven at a time on our thistle feeder, and they are smaller and duller than the regular male goldfinch. I don't know if they are juveniles, females, or lesser finches.
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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby PapaRon » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:25 pm

Lesser females may look a bit similar, but they are not a common bird in Michigan.

You more than likely are seeing females and juveniles and possibly adult male American goldfinches by now.

Some people in the winter will confuse Pine siskens with goldfinches.


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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby Russ Emmons » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:45 am

Our Goldfinches started molting some time back already. Normally, in the past they held their bright colors mostly until mid-October.

Sweetle, Lesser Goldfinch would be a very rare species in Michigan as would Lawrences Goldfinch. most birders, people this way have never seen or heard of those unless they travel west. I'd sure like to see one!
And to think we lived in southern California years ago before we got into birding and all I really remember was House Sparrows! :roll: Saw many Gulls along the Pacific Ocean, now I wonder what they were!

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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby SandyLee » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:07 am

When Ron first posted this thread, our goldfinches up here showed no signs of molting....still were very bright and even feeding babies! Well, they seem to be "on the move now", and the males that are around are DEFINITELY molting (darn near done!)

Sweetle....good chance you have some lesser goldfinches.....out there in Oregon you are in their range, as well as American Goldfinches. I don't know if the male Lesser Goldfinches go "dull" like the Am GF's tho! After the molt is done, it's a tough call to tell "who is who!"
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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby sweetlebee » Mon Sep 21, 2009 1:09 pm

We seldom see the male goldfinch--really only in May when he's with his mate, though once 5 males stopped in our birch tree. I've seen photos from back east where you guys will get a whole flock of them at your feeders!

The American female has a white patch near the base of her tail and the lesser female doesn't, so I'll need to be more observant. I'd like to know who that is eating all our seed!

Do you all leave thistle seed out in the winter? I don't think I will since it's so wet here and they should be able to find plenty of seed heads.
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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby SandyLee » Mon Sep 21, 2009 10:05 pm

Har, Sweetle! We gotta keep reminding all these "guys" that you are out there in the NW!

Excellent observations! I feed all year....all kinds of seed and suet. It sure has made a difference since we moved here seven years ago...at that time we literally had NO birds...but now I can see how they feed, move on, and do their thing!

For anyone who has never been to Portland.......it is my favorite place in the US....(other than MI!) :D
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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby PapaRon » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:21 am

I didn't pay attention on where you were from.

Yes, in Oregon you more than likely see lesser goldfinches.

My Bad.

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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby PapaRon » Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:23 am

Sandy, interesting about birds.

You would think birds would start molting and migrating sooner in the north country, but in most cases just the opposite happens.

For the reason you mentioned, nesting and raising babies, so they molt and migrate later then birds further south.

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Re: Goldfinches are molting

Postby Russ Emmons » Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:32 pm

This is the status of our male Goldfinches in August. They sure don't look like this now!

Russ Emmons
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Goldfinches our yard Aug. 09
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