“On Golden Fond”

These precious creatures are back in my backyard! The American Goldfinches gave me another visit and of course it was a delightful treat! I enjoy seeing them and shooting their pictures is a real challenge in order to capture their brilliant plumage color. D-0835This time I was visited by a happy couple, young and full of energy. To see birds thrive in good health is very rewarding to me like in this case with the goldfinches.

The American goldfinch is a diurnal feeder. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the species is one of the strictest vegetarians in the bird world. It is mainly granivorous, but will occasionally eat insects, which are also fed to its young to provide protein. Its diet consists of the seeds from a wide variety of annual plants, often those of weeds grasses and trees, such as thistle, teasel, dandelion, ragweed, mullein, cosmos, goatsbeard, sunflower, and alder.D-0836

The American goldfinch is the state bird of Iowa and New Jersey, where it is called the “eastern goldfinch”, and Washington, where it is called the “willow goldfinch”. It was chosen by schoolchildren in Washington in 1951.

The American Goldfinch is not threatened by human activity, and is widespread throughout its range. The clearing of forests by humans, though harmful to many species, has benefited the American goldfinch. D-0837Clearing of woodlands causes declines in numbers of neotropical migrants, while favoring short-distance migrants and permanent residents. This benefits the American Goldfinch both as a short-distance migrant, and because the created open areas are the preferred environment of the bird, where weeds thrive which produce the primary food source of the American Goldfinch.D-0838

These bird species I want to continue seeing year after year I’m very fond of them!



Text and photographs © HJ Ruiz – Avian101 References: Wikipedia and Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Avian Jukebox?

Perhaps you’ve seen or heard a Song Sparrow today, it would not surprise me if you’d say yes,  because this sparrow is more likely to be the most abundant in North America where is a native bird.

They have been residents of my backyard from the first day that I moved to my Georgia home. I noticed them just when I had flower pots in my patio and saw something scurrying  between the pots, I thought that we had a mice problem until I realized that looking closely it was birds (Song Sparrows) instead! I call them the “mice” of the backyard. Here is more information:

Although they are a habitat generalist, their favorite habitat is brushy areas and marshes, including salt marshes, across most of Canada and the United States. They also thrive in human areas, such as in suburbs, along edges in agricultural areas, and along roadsides. In southern locations, they are permanent residents. Northern birds migrate to the southern United States or Mexico, where there is also a local population resident all year round. The song sparrow is a very rare vagrant to western Europe, with a few recorded in Great Britain and Norway.

These birds forage on the ground, in shrubs or in very shallow water. They mainly eat insects and seeds. Birds in salt marshes may also eat small crustaceans. They nest either in a sheltered location on the ground or in trees or shrubs.

The sparrow species derives it name from its colorful repertoire of songs. Enthusiasts report that one of the songs heard often in suburban locations closely resembles the opening four notes of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The male uses a fairly complex song to declare ownership of its territory and attract females.

Song sparrows typically learn their songs from a handful of other birds that have neighboring territories. They are most likely to learn songs that are shared in common between these neighbors. Ultimately, they will choose a territory close to or replacing the birds that they have learned from. This allows the song sparrows to address their neighbors with songs shared in common with those neighbors. It has been demonstrated that song sparrows are able to distinguish neighbors from strangers on the basis of song, and also that females are able to distinguish (and prefer) their mate’s songs from those of other neighboring birds, and they prefer songs of neighboring birds to those of strangers.

Photo Gallery

Text and photographs © HJ Ruiz – Avian101