IN THIS ISSUE:
New At The Nest
We have recently added many new items in an effort to offer you the best backyard wildlife and garden decor products. Here are just a few of the many exciting products found in our Just Added category
Current Clearance Items
Here are a few items recently added to our Clearance section. Stock may be limited, so hurry before they are no longer available!The American Goldfinch is one of the most recognizable birds seen in backyards throughout North America. People everywhere enjoy seeing dozens of the small yellow birds at their feeders. What makes the American Goldfinch so special? Let's take a look:
Bird Profile: American Goldfinch
Each month in 2004, BestNest will be featuring a species profile for the birds about which we receive the most comments and questions. We hope these profiles are both educational and entertaining, so please let us know if there is anything we can do to improve them. Enjoy!August 2004: American Goldfinch
The American Goldfinch is one of 31 different species of birds in the Carduelis Family, which also includes Siskins, Linnets, and Redpolls. They are found nearly everywhere in North America throughout the year and are a very common site in backyards. American goldfinches are particularly popular because of the male's bright lemon yellow plumage. This unique coloring has often been compared to that of pet birds, and the American Goldfinch is often referred to as a "wild canary." They are also unique by going through two molts during the year. While this does not produce any major changes in the female's darker olive-yellow plumage, it does produce striking changes in the plumage of the males. During the summer months, the males are the bright lemon yellow that is generally associated with the American goldfinch. During the winter; however, the males closely resemble the darker and more understated coloring of the female birds. Juveniles of both sexes resemble the females; however, they are even darker with regards to the color of their plumage. Expect to see brown-olive plumage with some black stripes in the wings and tail.
American goldfinches vary greatly in their seasonal movement. Some birds will remain in an area year-round, while others will migrate south. They have been know to migrate in flocks ranging from ten birds to over one hundred birds. The birds that migrate usually winter in the southern United States and to a lesser extent northern Mexico. Though not colony birds, American goldfinches are generally gregarious throughout the year, and can be seen at feeders in large groups during both the summer and winter months.
American goldfinches typically build their nests in shrubs or small trees approximately 4-20 feet off the ground, and will not use man-made nest boxes. Their nests are usually made from bark strips from weeds or vines, seed filaments, and caterpillar and spider webs. Nesting tends to occur later than many birds, with April being the start of the nesting season in the southwestern United States. Nesting and breeding usually doesn't occur until July in the eastern part of the U.S.; however, eggs usually hatch within two weeks and young birds usually leave the nest within 17 days. American goldfinches can have up to three broods each breeding season.
American goldfinches have a diet that primarily consists of seed, particularly thistle seed. Their beak is especially adapted to extract seeds from plants such as thistle, birch, alder, cedar and elm. They are also known to eat some insects and berries, but primarily rely on seed as their main source of nourishment. This makes American finches a regular visitor to backyard feeders, especially thistle seed feeders. Thistle seed feeders are distinguished by either small openings (or "slits") in the side of the seed tube that are only large enough for thistle seed to be pulled out, or a metal mesh in place of the seed tube that can allow the birds to cling to outside of the mesh and pull the seeds residing inside it. American goldfinches will also eat sunflower hearts, so it is not unusual to see them eating at mixed seed feeders. If you are interested in attracting American goldfinches, we recommend a thistle feeder and Nyjer (thistle) seed. Nyjer seed bears no relation to the pink-flowered thistle weed that is found in North America. Nyjer seed is an imported thistle seed that contains roughly 40% oil, which is extremely important for the nutrition of birds that prefer to eat this type of seed.
If you are in need of a new thistle feeder, we have a wide selection available at www.bestnest.com. We offer seed, suet, and several informative books, such as the Stokes' Guide to Bird Behavior Volume 1. If you would like more personal assistance, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-369-5446.
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