Monday, May 20, 2013

Seed-eaters in the Wave

Among the warblers in our recent wave of migrants, we banded several spectacular seed-eating birds. As in the previous two posts on warblers, the birds’ names are linked to past postings. The goldfinches were most amazing. Very small numbers visited our feeders most of the winter. But our banding station was overrun by goldfinches on 13 May. The woodlot behind our home looked like it was decorated with yellow lights—oddly the vast majority of birds were males. Although they can be found in Minnesota year-round, goldfinches are migratory—so wintering individuals may not be the same birds as those breeding here. Years ago in Aberdeen, South Dakota, I retrapped a goldfinch banded in southeastern Colorado. One of my Minnesota goldfinches was banded near Dundas in April and recovered in July of the same year in far west-central Saskatchewan.

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