Tag Archive | Lesser Goldfinch

Rare Backyard Bird: Lesser Goldfinch

Posted By Bob Lefebvre

On May 15, 2016, Linda Vick photographed this bird in her yard in Cochrane. It is a Lesser Goldfinch, a very rare bird for Alberta. This is only the second record ever of this species in Alberta, the first being two years ago.

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Lesser Goldfinch, Cochrane, May 15, 2016. Photo by Linda Vick.

If I saw this bird in my yard and didn’t look too closely I might think it was an American Goldfinch. Lesser Goldfinches breed in  the SW United States, so I’m sure many of you, like me, are unfamiliar with it. Keep an eye out!

Lesser Goldfinch males have a black cap but can be distinguished from American Goldfinches by the greenish back (sometimes black, but unlike the yellow back of an American Goldfinch), the white at the base of the primaries, and the grey rather than pinkish bill colour. The pictured bird looks like a young male, developing its black cap.

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Lesser Goldfinch, Cochrane, May 15, 2016. Photo by Linda Vick.

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Lesser Goldfinch, Cochrane, May 15, 2016. Photo by Linda Vick.

::Aperture: ƒ/10|Camera: PENTAX K-5 II|Focal length: 500mm|ISO: 400|Shutter speed: 1/640s|

Here are American Goldfinches for comparison:

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American Goldfinch (breeding male). Photo by Bob Lefebvre.

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American Goldfinch (female). Photo by Bob Lefebvre.