"A Thistle Sock"

Lesser Goldfinch

lesser goldfinches       Where have all the wild canaries gone? That’s a question we hear every now and then when people get interested in birds. My honey said he remembers years back, when he was out hiking with his children, that every time he saw a flash of yellow, he told them they were wild canaries. In reality, there are no wild canaries in the US, but we do have lots of birds dressed with yellow. One spectacular bird in the United States is the Lesser Goldfinch. This is the bird we love to have in our yard, because of its beauty and sweet song. Males have an almost black head, a dark (almost green) back, and white wing bars. The breast is a bright yellow in spring and a lesser yellow in winter. Females, decorated by Mother Nature, are dressed with muted colors of pale yellow, soft greens, and grays with the same white wing bars. The song of the Lesser Goldfinch sounds like tiny metal wind chimes, lightly blowing in the breeze.

       Lesser Goldfinches are a favorite for most bird watchers. If you’re interested, an easy way to attract them here in Washington County during the winter months, is to hang up a thistle sock. The hanging sock, with its tiny holes, is perfect for the weight and small beak of the Lesser Goldfinch. There may be other larger birds looking for a free meal, so hang your sock where the heavier ones won’t have a tree limb or branch to help them reach the sock.

       It’s fall and time to bring out the winter treats. There are new thistle socks, and there are bags to refill the socks when they run out. Lesser Goldfinches are primarily small seed eaters with a side dish of tasty insects. They can be seen in the western United States during the summer breeding season, and in the winter, from southern Utah south, clear to Central America.

       If you have any questions about the Lesser Goldfinch, Red Cliffs Audubon Monthly Meetings or Field Trips, call 435 673-0996. This week’s bird was drawn by Judy Warren .