On American Goldfinches and an Early Spring

I have been trying for over a week to get a decent picture of one of the American goldfinches that recently returned to my neighborhood. On Monday I heard one of these goldfinches singing a melodic call, and I located the bird at my thistle seed bird feeder. Unfortunately, by the time I fetched my digital camera and returned outside, my neighbor had fired up his weed whacker, frightening away the goldfinch.

Today was more fortuitous, and there were at least four goldfinches flitting around as I cut the grass and planted more seeds. I lucked out after sending the dogs inside, and I wound up with a dozen or more eye-catching images.

Northwest Ohio is in an area where the American goldfinch is supposed to be a permanent resident, but I never see them in the winter. I suspect they migrate either to open fields or wooded areas in search of food supplies, and some may migrate to southern Ohio in their pursuit of sustenance.

I typically see goldfinches en masse when my sunflowers bloom, and they piggishly feast on the sunflower heads in August. I am not sure if the early arrival of the goldfinches is due to our unusually warm spring, or if they have become habituated to the thistle seed I provide. They certainly have little use for a weight loss diet, given their active lifestyles and the heavy competition for bird feeders.

Either way, their cheerful melodies are a welcome addition to the collection of tunes that the other songbirds provide around here.