American Goldfinch

August 15, 2013

Before I get started with this post, I’ll say a few words about the vibrant colors of my WordPress template this week. I use a “chameleonic” theme, called Duotone, that changes the background color of my blog, based on the image I use each week. Okay, I don’t know if “chameleonic” is actually a word, but the auto-background of each post behaves like a chameleon and changes with reference to its surroundings, such as the purple coneflowers in this edition. I only mention this because, as you can see, the background got a little wild this week. 🙂

By the way, if you receive Nature Frames via email every Thursday, be sure to click on the title of the post to view it in its native form at WordPress. It is much nicer to read here at WordPress, in my opinion, and I actually pay an annual fee to ensure that you won’t see any ads along the way. Also, if you are like me, you’ll get a kick out of seeing what kind of colors Duotone whips up each week to surround my image and text. Well, I think that is enough discussion about the nuts and bolts of blogging so on to this week’s post about goldfinches.

Sometimes the best shots are right in your back yard, or in this case Joyce’s mom, Virginia’s backyard. Virginia has so many birds coming to her feeders, flower gardens and bird baths that I usually take my camera with me when I head down the hill to visit with her on her back porch swing. A few weeks ago while we were swinging and talking, a little goldfinch landed on a patch of her purple coneflowers, resulting in a perfect “Nature Frame.” All I had to do was lean forward and swing my tripod mounted lens and camera toward the beautiful sight and…..voila!

American goldfinches are quite optimistic in late summer as they check coneflowers each day to see if the seeds are ready for plucking from the flower heads. In the next few weeks and into early fall, we will begin to see flocks of goldfinches on all of our coneflowers as they fatten up for winter. I not only love to watch this behavior for its colorful beauty, but also because it reminds me of the crisp, cool days ahead as we march toward my favorite season of the year—autumn!


Goldfinches are among the latest birds to nest in Missouri and you will find them gathering nest materials in June and July. I often see them at Shaw Nature Reserve collecting soft, stringy seeds from thistle, a perfect nest liner. They also feed the same material to their nestlings and it is often partially digested into a milky mash before feeding. Just keep an eye out for thistle and milkweed when you are in a prairie or an old field and you’ll see the behaviors I’ve described for yourself. Now I’ve given you yet another reason to get outside and experience nature first hand. For those of you who are unable to spend much time outdoors, I’m happy to share my experiences with you here.

Thanks for looking,


American Goldfinch: Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 500/4 L IS Lens; 1/80 @ f/5.6; ISO 400; RAW Capture; Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod with Wimberley II; Converted and Processed in Canon DPP

American Goldfinch Gathering Thistle Seed: Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 500/4 L IS Lens with Canon 1.4 TC II Extender; 1/400 @ f/5.6; ISO 200; RAW Capture; Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod with Wimberley II; Converted and Processed in Canon DPP

11 comments on “American Goldfinch”

  1. It’s nice when some shots come easily to you…after all, you struggle a lot for some of the others! Delightful images of summer.

  2. What a Beautiful shot of that Goldfinch Danny. I just love to see them dart back and forth, through my back yard, picking seed from the feeder. Thanks for sharing.


  3. The Goldfinch has been a favorite of mine this summer. I love to hear them sing away and watch them flit here and there. My favorite image is the Goldfinch with all that seed in that short beak, which is made for crushing all that seed. Nice job!

  4. The purple coneflowers are beautiful, too.

  5. The Duotone theme is indeed interesting. IMO this color “it” chose is crazy, though it looks quite nice with your second picture because it highlights the thistle. But I can’t help but wonder if Duotone would have chosen one of the reds from the cone flowers how much more the lovely goldfinch would look. Ah, well, it is a fun theme just because of the surprises it brings…

    • You are exactly right Tess. Sometimes I think, “Oh how I wish it wouldn’t have gone that route,” but I’m always surprised at the fresh look each week.


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