Surprise Visitor!

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

This beautiful American Goldfinch was a surprise visitor to our backyard this afternoon. I was quite certain these birds had all left the area as I hadn’t seen one in at least three weeks.

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Most surprising of all is that this is an adult breeding male. The birds we hosted during the winter all wore their non-breeding plumage. Does the fact that this little guy’s coloring has already changed mean that he’ll be remaining in this area to breed? According to an article from Passport to Texas:

The American goldfinch breeds across southern Canada and in all but the most southerly portions of the United States and spends the winter months from the northern tier of states to Mexico. Although a common winter resident throughout most of Texas, the goldfinch remains to breed only sparingly in the northeastern corner of the state.”

We’re certainly not in the northeastern part of the state, but with the extreme weather changes we’ve been having over the past several years, perhaps the breeding ground for these birds is creeping westward.

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) and House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) and House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)

A House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) decided to join our visitor for lunch!

I certainly hope this American Goldfinch hangs around for the summer — and that he finds a mate if he hasn’t already. But even if he decides to move on, he certainly was a welcome sight today!

19 thoughts on “Surprise Visitor!

  1. Great shots – tiny birds are so often hard to capture in images – they move so quickly. I don’t see these Am Goldfinches around my spaces (heck – I don’t even see house finches!) but I’m happy for your surprise visit. Such an adorable little guy!


  2. How lucky you are to have such a revered guest! I have numerous lesser goldfinches, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an American goldfinch. I guess it is possible that I’ve seen some during the winter, with their winter plumage, which looks more similar to the female coloring of the lesser goldfinch, but I’ve certainly not yet spotted a male in his breeding season plumage.


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