Sunday, February 8, 2015

American Goldfinches in the Cedar Elms

I took a leisurely stroll on the streets of our neighborhood this morning and enjoyed a few very active mixed-species foraging flocks of birds like Black-crested Titmouse, Yellow-rumed Warbler, Downy Woodpecker, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a few others. The most numerous species, sometimes appearing in these groups and sometimes in groups of its own, was American Goldfinch. This is a winter resident species that usually occurs in groups and feeds mostly on seeds.

I also noticed now and then small bits of debris drifting down from some of the trees. It reminded me of wind-dispersed Cottonwood seeds. I realized that when I saw this debris in the air I was standing near a Cedar Elm tree, and that tree had American Goldfinches in it. One of the pieces drifted down and landed on me and I recognized it as an empty Cedar Elm seed packet. There was a hole right in the center. I looked more closely at the Goldfinches and saw that this was their doing. They'd pull a seed packet off the tree, eat the seed out of it, and discard it. There were enough birds doing this to create the drifting debris of empty seed packets in the air.

Here's a photo of the seed packet that landed on me.

Cedar Elm Seed Packet

And here's an American Goldfinch I photographed last year in my backyard. Coincidentally, it's in a Cedar Elm tree and you can see a blurry seed packet that it just discarded.

American Goldfinch

Here's my complete bird list.

1 comment:

Anna said...

Its amazing how many American Goldfinches we have this year. I'm sure they've always arrived this time of year, but I finally put out some finch feeders. We see them all day long now. Your picture is cute!