The American Goldfinches have begun to flock in the prairie at the Ecology Center. Two weeks ago we caught 30 golfinches in the mist nets. Yesterday I watched a few of the birds flutter around the tops of dried flowers, foraging for seed.
The Goldfinches nest later than other songbirds, sometimes as early as mid-June but breeding usually commences in July and August.. The finches time their nesting around the maturation of thistle plants and other wildflowers that bloom in mid-summer (such as the echinacea sp).
Male Goldfinches do not defend established territories, rather they defend their mate, especially while she is incubating or brooding chicks. The male also almost exclusively feeds the young while they are in the nest and will often form flocks and fly miles away from their nesting sites to forage for food.
I look forward to the mid-summer addition of the Goldfinches. They add a nice splash of vibrant color to the prairie and it is wonderful to hear their sweet song. I'll be keeping my eyes open for more photo opportunities and keep you posted on their activity.