AMERICAN GOLDFINCH (Spinus tristis)
The American goldfinch is a permanent resident in PEI, helped by people providing feeders. It shows not only sexual dimorphism but also seasonal changes. The male is a bright yellow in the summer but olive green in the winter. Below are photos of ‘half and half’ American goldfinches in April, when the males turn back yellow again – gradually.
The French name of the bird, chardonneret, refers to the fact that it feeds from the seeds of the thistle (chardon in French) and in addition will use the seed silks to line its nest. This bird is mainly a seed eater and it loves sunflower seeds, as can be seen below.
This finch has a unique flying pattern, which helps in identification. It ‘makes waves’ (literally) , and has a specific ‘tidididi’ call during the ascending phase of the wave. American goldfinches also have melodious songs, which are not at all ‘sad’ as their Latin name (tristis means ‘sorrowful’) would imply.
The video below shows three American goldfinches preening in a dead Dutch honeysuckle. Then toward the end a song sparrow lands in that vine.