Featured Sanctuary Bird: American goldfinch

In honor of the upcoming Great Backyard Birdcount, we asked Mark and Sue, our Goose Pond Sanctuary resident managers, to feature a bird from thier backyard bird feeders:

American goldfinches are one of the latest nesting birds and young fledge in late summer when there is an abundance of seeds. At Goose Pond Sanctuary, hundreds of goldfinches cleaned our sunflowers food plots of seed and then switched to sawtooth sunflowers and prairie dock seed from the prairies. Sometimes it is a race to collect the prairie dock seed before the goldfinches devourer it.

There is a flock of about 30 goldfinches feeding heavily at the Goose Pond feeders at the residence (see photos). In winter, goldfinches depend on bird feeders while they are still in their drab winter colors.  Often, all 18 of Goose Pond bird feeder perches are topped with goldfinches with only an occasional house finch.

Photo by Phil Brown, Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Phil Brown, Flickr Creative Commons

We are feeding finches medium chipped sunflower seeds and we have found these are better than niger seed. Sunflower seed is produced in this country while niger is imported.  Each tiny niger seed must be hulled by the birds while sunflower chips are already hulled. Thanks to customers from Mounds Petfood Warehouse stores that have provided bird seed for our feeders through their “Buy a bag of birdseed for Goose Pond Sanctuary” program.

We are looking forward to the Great Backyard Bird Count (http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc) being held from February 14-17 and the counting of the goldfinches!

-Mark Martin and Sue Foote-Martin, goosep@madisonaudubon.org
Goose Pond Sanctuary
W7503 Kampen Road, Arlington, WI