For the last several weeks, American goldfinches have been mighty scarce around my feeders. However, last week I was surprised to see a male American Goldfinch sharing sunflower seeds with a small group of house finches. Seeing the bird in full breeding plumage was a reminder that, unlike many birds, the American goldfinch waits until spring to undergo a complete body molt. Many ornithologists believe this may be linked to the fact that The American goldfinch nest far later than most other Georgia songbirds.
According to this theory, since such a molt requires the bird to expend a huge amount of energy, it lessens its ability to nest until later in the year after their energy reserves have been replenished. In the case of Georgia American goldfinches, it is just about time for them to begin nesting.
The American goldfinch nesting season in the Peach State commences in late June, however, it reaches its peak in July and August. Some females will even be nesting as late as September.
These nesting habits will affect the numbers of goldfinches we will see at our feeders. Once nesting begins, during the 12-14 days the females are incubating their eggs they will have little time to feed. Consequently, during period we are likely to see males more often at our feeders than females.