Thursday, March 12, 2009
Skywatch Friday: Sun Birds
I call this post Sun Birds because these birds look like they've captured the sun in their feathers. In last Sunday's post, Yard Views, Max of Apartment Biology Blog mentioned that the Lesser Goldfinch almost looked like a Scott's Oriole. That got me thinking and I decided to compare the two birds side by side. This photo is of the same birds as I posted last week and was taken just a few seconds later. You can see it's finch-like body and beak made for plucking and opening the seeds this bird loves to eat. We mostly get Lesser Goldfinches here and I have never seen an American Goldfinch in my yard, though a Lawrence's did stop by one time just long enough for me to identify it before it flew away without me getting a picture of it! The Lesser Goldfinch is smaller and yellower than the American Goldfinch, which has white undertail coverts (the feathery part underneath its tail). The Lesser Goldfinch also comes in a black-backed and green-backed variety. This is a green-backed male. In spite of his black cap and black wings, if you saw him from behind you would see his upper back is greenish. The black-backed variety is totally black from his cap to his tail. I have seen both varieties here, though the green-backed is much more common.
This male Scott's oriole stopped by last March during a spring rain. He is twice the size of the Lesser goldfinch and his black is more extensive coming down into a bib. He beak is longer and more pointy for getting at nectar and eating insects instead of seed. I put this half an orange outside for him once I spotted him.
Perhaps now that I've planted an orange tree it will attract more orioles. I can only hope they will stop by during spring migration this year. I am ready and waiting with camera and fruit!
Happy Skywatch Friday everyone!