I enjoy watching birds at home and on my travels. It is fun to spot new birds. I spotted a new one for me while in Livermore, CA this summer that was a slight variation on a perky little bird I enjoy seeing at home. In Texas the goldfinches I have spotted have been American goldfinches. The ones in Livermore were lesser goldfinches. The lesser goldfinches have similar yellow, black and white coloration but the green backed males' coloration is a bit more subdued than the American goldfinches' summer color. I snapped a few images of some lesser goldfinches eating dandelion seeds on an unused ball field one morning.
Back home I usually start seeing American goldfinches in the winter in North Texas. I left some small sunflowers standing in my garden one year long after they finished blooming and the goldfinches feasted on the seed heads when they came through. During the winter the males are much more drab but they are still a very streamlined bird with wonderful black and white patterning on their wings. They are a welcome break from all of the little brown birds (so many sparrow varieties) that hang out. The goldfinches will often hang around into the spring after the males have put on their striking yellow and black breeding color and are a festive sight to see before they vanish until next winter.
I also enjoy learning new facts about the critters that I see. I stumbled across a great article about goldfinches last week in which I learned that they are the only finch that is a strict vegetarian. In fact their diet is restricted to only seeds. While other finches rely on insects to supplement their diet, especially when raising their young, goldfinches have hungry mouths to feed when abundant seed heads can be found in their environment to provide enough food for everyone. It was quite an interesting and educational article and instead of listing all of the great info I found there, I encourage you to give it a read too.
Have you seen a new bird recently that you would like to share?