Tag Archive | rare bird in Alberta

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.


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.


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


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

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Here are American Goldfinches for comparison:


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

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American Goldfinch (female). Photo by Bob Lefebvre.

Red-bellied Woodpecker Photos

Red-bellied woodpecker from Wikipedia

As many of you know, there has been a Red-bellied woodpecker living in George Lane Park in High River for the last few weeks. Blog reader and photographer Duane Starr visited the park on December 17, and took a series of excellent photos of this rare bird.

You can see his collection of Red-bellied woodpecker photos on his  website. Just click any of the thumbnail pictures on the left to see a larger view of the photo.

Once you’ve enjoyed the woodpecker pictures, you must travel on over to his photos of the Great Gray Owl – they are fantastic.

Thank you Duane, for sharing your work!

Posted by Pat Bumstead