American Goldfinches by the East Don River: August 2020

Unlike many colourful songbirds such as the Baltimore Oriole and the Rose-breasted Grosbeak, the American Goldfinch is with us 12 months a year and does not migrate.

American Goldfinch (male)

It is a late nester, usually waiting for thistledown to use in nest construction so the young are noisy and conspicuous in August and September.

Bull Thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Canada Thistle (Cirsium pratense)

In Quebec, the bird is called a “chardonerret” because of its association with “chardon” (thistle).

American Goldfinch (male)

Males are brilliant yellow in summer but dull olive in winter so that they resemble females.

American Goldfinch

Goldfinches are common and widespread in orchards, hedgerows, overgrown fields and suburban gardens.

American Goldfinch (male)

They are almost always seen in flocks, feeding on tree buds, grass and weed seeds and some insects. I photographed them on this day feeding on chicory seeds.

American Goldfinch (male)

This morning, I hiked to the banks of the East Don River from Wigmore Park near Sloane Ave. and Eglinton Ave East.

river pebbles
I hope that Biskit is OK!

Some botany:

Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola)
White-cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Joe-pye-weed (Eutrochium maculatum)
Tall Meadow-rue (Thalictrum pubescens)
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium)
Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
Winged Euonymu (Euonymus alata)
Ostrich Fern
Mullein (Verbascum thapsis)
Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum)
Virginia Creeper (Pathenocissus inserta)
Spiny-leaved Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper)
Spiny-leaved Sow Thistle (Sonchus asper)
Scouring Rush
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)
Himalayan Balsam (Impatiens grandulifera)


August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.     – Sara Coleridge (1802–52) 

Miles Hearn

2 thoughts on “American Goldfinches by the East Don River: August 2020

  1. Linda Vannucci

    Hello Miles,
    I have seen American Gold FInch in my lilac tree in the backyard near College St on Brock Ave,Toronto.First spotting in my yard. I use hulled sunflower seeds.
    Last week I also spotted a couple in the thistle lakeside in Owen Sound,Ontario. It was a big thrill!
    Looking forward to the Fall bird watching group.

  2. Lisa Volkov

    A beloved place, beautiful plants, wonderful pictures of American Gold Finch! Poor cat, I also hope s/he is found safe. Thanks, Miles! Sadly, for the first time since 2013, I won’t be able to take part in the walks. I will follow them all in pictures, however. All the best to everyone taking part!


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