Wednesday, June 24, 2009

European Goldfinch update

Earlier this year, I posted about a paper I wrote summarizing sightings of European Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis) in the Midwest. A population is apparently established in northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin.

I just received a report from a resident of Waukegan, IL, about 10 miles from the Wisconsin border. She hosted four adult European Goldfinches last year, and up to eight this spring. On 20 June, she reported an adult with two youngsters in her yard. On 22 June, she saw four young with two adults, and sent these photos.

I've had a handful of reports of nesting European Goldfinches from Illinois or Wisconsin since 2003, but only two with photo documentation. This Waukegan report is the most detailed and the first definitive report away from the "epicenter" of sightings in McHenry Co., IL, which is about 40 miles west of Waukegan.

As they do in their native range, European Goldfinch nest in May and June, which is earlier than American Goldfinch. However, in Europe and Asia, they raise two broods, sometimes three, so nesting in the two species here in North America could overlap.


As you can see, the juveniles are superficially like dull or female American Goldfinch, but any good look will reveal the jet black wings with large yellow wing patches. Young European Goldfinch lack the red on the face and the head pattern of the adults. The Waukegan host will be watching to see when the young birds acquire the red faces of adults, (should they continue to come to her feeders) which I expect to happen sometime in the fall.

I welcome further reports of nesting European Goldfinches!

See also this update from July 2009.

Photos copyright E. Powell. Used with permission.

6 comments:

almondog said...

around 1987 i seen aeuropean goldfinch at the quogue wild life refuge on longisland ,ny.at a bird feeder.

Anatoly said...

I read the the Long Island population was exterminated :( I hope that this nice european species will find its life in US and Canada!

lromnek said...

I have had two sightings in the last couple weeks at my feeders. This morning I was able to get a picture. I would like to send it to you, but not sure how. I have sent the Hoy Autobon Society this info and also sent the photo.
Laurel Romnek
20 Hammes Drive
Racine, WI 53406

lromnek said...

I live in Racine, Wisconsin and I have just had my second sighting in two weeks at my feeders. This morning I was able to get a photo, but I don't know how to send it to you. I have sent all the info to the Hoy Autobon Society so they can record it.

Julie Craves said...

I have had several reports from Racine recently. Be on the lookout for nesting activity soon (they nest earlier than American Goldfinches) and adults with young. Photos that indicate evidence of breeding are what I'd be interested in. More info here: http://www.rrbo.org/eugo

Wendy said...

We had a visit from a European Finch at our feeder and birdbath several days in a row mixed in with about 10 other goldfinches early in February.

Spring Grove
McHenry County, IL
60 miles northwest of Chicago