Friday, September 24, 2010

Newly Fledged American Goldfinch (Video)

Posted by Kirk
It was windy today in Minnesota. If you don't believe me, ask the woman at my work who's back window exploded when a thirty foot tall black cherry fell on her car. Like I said, windy.

When I came home I could hear this chirping noise out my window. It sounded familiar but strangely constant. This bird was close to the window, not moving and chirping like mad. I looked out the window with my son and quickly spotted a little ball of feathers in the yard. It could only be one species. I grabbed my binoculars and sure enough, it was a baby American Goldfinch.

American Goldfinch are the last birds to nest in the state of Minnesota each summer. Heck, it isn't even summer anymore and there are still goldfinches in nests. This has to do with their nesting habits. American Goldfinches build their nests out of thistle seed plumes. The thistle doesn't bloom until the end of the summer so they have to wait it out.

For the past few weeks, song birds have been pouring out of Minnesota. The warblers are all but gone and there have been reports of the first Juncos in the Twin Cities. I practically expect snow any moment once the Juncos arrive.

My suspicion is that this bird was force fledged a bit early by the strong winds today. This brings up a question I get all the time in my line of work. What should I do with a baby bird I found? Leave it alone! Birds have done fine for millions of years without well meaning humans trying to assist them. The parents will hear the bird calling and bring it food. This is how it works. Sure, there's a chance another animal might eat the little bird. Sitting in the middle of the yard like this is also announcing a free meal to any passing hawk. Look though, migrating hawks are hungry too. This is the circle of life.

I'll have my thistle feeder out all winter. Maybe this little guy (or gal) will hang out in my yard this winter and enjoy my stale seeds.

It did stick around long enough for me to dig out the video camera. Enjoy.