Birder’s Notebook by Bob Andrini; 28 January Entry. Being in the right place at the right time is very essential in birding.
We had been out all morning looking for winter birds and came home just at the ‘right time’. Walking into the dining room and looking at our feeders, we noticed a very whitish bird feeding with the American goldfinches – and with binocs identified it as a European goldfinch.
The field marks are unmistakable: red face; black on top of head and back of neck; yellow wing bar. I had just enough time to snap about 8 pictures before the birds all flew off. This happened one other time for us (right time, right place) when another European goldfinch visited us exactly 10 years ago in January.
In 2003 the first sightings of these birds started appearing in Illinois. The best guess was that they were released caged birds. Since that time, they have set up breeding populations in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.
Keep your feeders full and keep and eye on them and you might also get a pleasant surprise. Below are pictures taken in 2010 and this week – in the recent pictures the bird was on the wrong side of the thistle sac and didn’t allow a good view.