Friday, August 3, 2012

Bright Yellow Camouflage?

At first glance, one would not think that the bright yellow feathers of the male Goldfinch blend in with anything.

American Goldfinch
After all, he relies on his bright plumage to woo the ladies and win a mate.

Hey, good lookin'!
However, the Goldfinch is surprisingly hard to see in the garden!

Goldfinch and Cosmos sulphureus
I find it interesting that the yellow Goldfinch seems to enjoy the seeds of so many yellow flowers:  sunflowers, cosmos, coreopsis, goldenrod, dandelion, and black-eyed susan, to name a few.  Blending in while eating is good, I assume - less chance of becoming lunch yourself!

Goldfinch eating the seeds of a Black-eyed Susan
Of course Goldfinches do eat other seeds - they are notorious in their love of the seeds that come from the usually purple-flowering thistle. (In fact, the Genus name for Goldfinches, Carduelis, comes from the Latin word for 'thistle').

Here a Goldfinch is enjoying a sock of Nyjer seed.  Many people call Nyjer seeds 'thistle seeds' because the goldfinches love them so much, but Nyjer seeds actually come from a completely different plant (an African yellow daisy Guizotia abyssinica)
I know I often have these beautiful finches in my yard even when I can't see them on the bird feeders.  The little birds hide surprisingly well!  Goldfinches even blend in fairly effectively with my plants that have golden-toned leaves.

The Goldfinches often hide among the branches of my gold variegated-leafed 'Santana' Butterfly bush
Just don't blend in too well, little Goldfinch - you may not want me to see you, but your lady friend might be another story..

Hey, where'd he go?


  1. Such wonderful shots Indie. I often wondered how those bright colors on the males could be hidden. Now I know. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Indie, beautiful photos! We have not here these birds, they are so cute and pretty.

  3. Indie I love the photos of the camouflaged finches...they are frequent visitors in my garden....I only see them when the plants are moving. They have been gorging on seeds already as the plants have died back from drought. Wonderful post!

  4. Wonderful photos, I miss having small birds in my garden, I used to have lots when I still lived in Norway. Here in the middle of London I have rarely anything else than pigeons, lots of them!

  5. cute post with lovely photos Indie. And as well as being entertained I learned stuff! There are tiny birds in my garden, I can never photograph them, they hide and hardly ever are still. They are not yellow but I think now they may be finches. cheers, cm

  6. Want a shame the female birds of many species are so dull in their colouring compared to the males....clearly dealt a poor hand there! Beautiful photos Indie xx

  7. Beautiful blog.
    Very beautiful photos!

  8. You could treat them with a yellow seed-bag.

  9. Really pretty images and nice captures too. I am getting really fond of yellow.

  10. I have only caught the briefest of glimpses of Gold Finch around here, but it is pretty exciting to me to see them.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  11. I, too, enjoy watching the goldfinches in the garden. Very lively and cheerful birds.

  12. The Goldfinches have been frequent visitors to our feeders this summer. They seem like happy little birds--and very visible against the brown feeders. But I can see why they would blend in with many late summer flowers! :)

  13. Indie - you are a very patient photographer to have caught so many lovely shots of these pretty little birds. Thanks!

  14. India!
    Your photographs are beautiful.
    And the birds? Dream!


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