Monday, May 28, 2012

Wild American Goldfinches

Our backyard feeders. The two at the side hold black oil sunflower seeds which attract a host of different birds. The two long ones hold thistle that attracts a variety of finches.

American Goldfinches at "nyjer" thistle dispensers.
Feeders at outside hold black oil sunflower seed.

The birds shown here are American Goldfinches. They love thistle seeds. Years ago this seed was aptly called niger thistle. In Latin niger means black, but apparently it could be mispronounced like a racial slur. As a result, packages seem to now spell it phonetically as "nyjer" thistle.

Why not just call these seeds black thistle? Better than creating a new spelling for it, but no one asked me. It's very popular with Gold Finches, Siskins, House Finches, and many others.

Male Goldfinches become this beautiful bright yellow in the spring. In the winter they lose the bright yellow and become a tan to olive shade. Females brighten up slightly in the spring, but are never as bright yellow as the males. The amount of black on their heads and outer wings can vary from bird to bird. They are also known as wild canaries because of their color.

American Goldfinches

Happy Spring!

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