Monday, March 15, 2010

In the backyard... Lesser Goldfinch

Lesser GoldfinchLesser Goldfinch, Forest Grove, Oregon on 11 April 2009 by Greg Gillson.


The Lesser Goldfinch is rather local and rare in the Pacific NW. However, it is nearly as abundant as American Goldfinch in the Willamette Valley of Oregon (especially the west side), in the Rogue and Umpqua Valleys of SW Oregon and in the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon and northern California. This species is much less common east of the Cascades in isolated canyons of eastern and central Oregon. It also occurs in southern Idaho, and in extreme south-central Washington State near the town of Lyle. The bird is rare on the coast north of Coos Bay.

The typical habitat for this species throughout most of its range is dry canyons of oaks. East of the Cascades they are found in riparian areas. They are often found in towns, as well.

Specializing in weed seeds, these cheerful singers with the mournful calls quickly find thistle feeders in backyards offering Niger seeds. Drinking water will also attract these bright-colored birds.