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Goldfinch "songfest"

Josh Rose and Mr. Krucke are describing a familiar phenomenon of Carduelis
socializing.  I've had the same thing happen several times in the spring.
I've had literally hundreds of Goldfinches all parked in the two larger oaks
in the front yard here, all singing at the top of their collective lungs.
I've also seen/heard the Pine Siskins do it a time or two, as well.  Bent,
in an entry on "Eastern Goldfinch" (Spinus tristis, which I presume was
later renamed as American Goldfinch and the Latin name was changed to
Carduelis tristis), quotes Burroughs, "...the courting begins.  All the
goldfinches of a neighborhood collect together and hold a sort of a musical
festival.  To the number of many dozens they may be seen in some large tree,
all singing and calling in the most joyous and vivacious manner...Whether
there is actual competition on a trial of musical abilities of the males
before the females or not, I do not know.  The best of feeling seems to
pervade the company; there is no sign of quarreling or fighting..."  Because
Goldfinches breed so late in the summer (I've had fledgling Goldfinches at
the feeders in August and not before August), I don't know if it really is
courting or simply a songfest for the Goldfinches and Siskins.  I do know
when the Goldfinches have done it around here, it is always a simply
ravishing spring day and in addition to the euphonious din of Goldfinch
song, the multitude of birds in their sunshine yellow plumage in the trees
is a lovely sight. 
Donna Slyce Bailey
Winnsboro, SC

e-mail: dsbailey@conterra.com

URL: http://www.conterra.com/dsbailey
     "Where are the Birds?  Migration across South Carolina"