Bird of the Year

Each year Wake Audubon chooses a bird on which to focus.  The species is always one that is found in Wake County and a bird that is under pressure from climate change, development and/or loss of habitat.  We learn about the species through articles in our newsletter, lectures, and field trips.

American Goldfinch – Wake Audubon’s 2023 Bird of the Year

 

Wake Audubon Society is pleased to share among members and anyone else interested, our exploration of this delightful year ‘round resident of Wake County.

American Goldfinch pair at Mid Pines Road, Raleigh, NC Photo by Phil Doerr

This prim, spectacular pair were seen and “captured” in late July along Midpines Road in Wake County, of course! The male (left) sports his breeding best plumage, as summer is the nesting season for goldfinches. The males sing and display in early summer to attract females and defend territories from competitors. The female (right) is not as bright, a feature rendering them less visible to potential nest predators. They are likely the most seed dependent species we know of, and often forage “weedy” grass and forb dominated areas in fallow fields, and roadsides where infrequent mowing allows wildflowers and grasses to develop.

The goldfinch habit of frequenting roadsides in all seasons, and bird feeders in winter make them one of the most familiar birds in our area. Catkins and seed pods of alder, and sweetgum are another spot to observe goldfinches in winter where they dangle up-side-down on the ends of branches high overhead. So this winter, make it a habit to check out those weedy roadsides, or high sweetgum “balls” where these dainty little birds forage, and give a listen for their high pitched “potato chip” calls especially in flight.

 


Bird of the Year Archives