One of the reasons I hung a thistle seed sock this year in my backyard, was to try to attract a larger variety of birds, than I have had in the past, with just suet feeders and hummingbird feeders.
Within a day of hanging the thistle seed sock, I noticed a couple of bright yellow birds at the sock feeder. There was one with a dark yellow bellow, a dark crown, a dark back and wings with white markings. The other one had similar markings but had a significantly lighter yellow below. The lighter yellow bird also didn’t have the obvious dark crown that the brighter yellow one did, as you can see below.
After a little research on the Internet, I was able to determine that these birds were most likely Lesser Goldfinches. Their markings certainly seemed to match. Dark green back, bright-yellow below and white markings on the wings for the male with a black crown. Lighter-yellow below, with lighter-gray wings and pale yellowish-white markings, without a noticeable crown for the females.
Lesser Goldfinches can also be found in the most southeastern part of Nevada year-round, which of course is where the Las Vegas Valley is located.
I haven’t really seen any more Lesser Goldfinches since the day I spotted these two. I have replaced the empty thistle seed sock a time or two and will hopefully see more of these bright active birds in the future.
The picture above shows the markings of a Male Lesser Goldfinch clearly. You can easily see the black crown, the olive-green back (common for Lesser Goldfinches in the west), the bright-yellow below and the white markings on the wings.
You can also see the small holes that the finch puts its bill through to pull out a thistle seed before crushing the husk with its bill and swallowing the seed.
The Lesser Goldfinch is believed to have a stable population and can be found throughout much of the southwestern United States and as far north as Oregon along the coast.
To learn more about Lesser Goldfinches, visit the websites below: