An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Male American Goldfinch’s Seasonal Plumage

3-17-15  male American goldfinch IMG_0482Most songbirds have one complete molt every year, in the late summer. Some, like the American goldfinch, have another (partial) molt in the spring. Last fall male goldfinches molted, replacing many of their bright yellow feathers with drab, greenish-gray feathers, so that they closely resemble females during the winter. Goldfinches start their partial molt in February, and in the next month or two, males will once again become bright yellow beacons. No-one can illustrate the subtle seasonal plumage changes of a male American goldfinch better than David Sibley: http://www.sibleyguides.com/2012/05/the-annual-plumage-cycle-of-a-male-american-goldfinch/ (Photo: male American goldfinch in March)

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3 responses

  1. Kathryn

    My mom always used to say the finches looked like flying daffodils. And that’s how I think of them to this day!

    March 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

  2. I love that, Kathryn!

    March 17, 2015 at 1:12 pm

  3. Wonderful photo, Mary. I love goldfinches with their sweet calls and undulating flight. We called them northern canaries. 🙂

    March 17, 2015 at 7:57 pm

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