American Goldfinch.
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American Goldfinch.


woodcut/wood engraving
By Edwin Sheppard.

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text from the plate

American Goldfinch.

(Chrysomitris tristis.)

adult male


“R. Ridgway” signature in corner

"The Goldfinch is to a large extent gregarious and nomadic in its habits, and only for a short portion of the year do these birds separate into pairs for the purposes of reproduction. ... They are resident throughout the year in New England, and also throughout the greater portion of the country, their presence or absence being regulated to a large extent by the abundance, scarcity, or absence of their favorite kinds of food. In the winter, the seeds of the taller weeds are their principal means of subsistence. In the summer, the seeds of the thistle and other plants and weeds are sought out by these interesting and busy gleaners. ... Owing possibly to the scarcity of proper food for their young in the early summer, the Goldfinches are quite late before they mate and raise their single brood. It is usually past the 10th of July before their nests are constructed, and often September before their broods are ready to fly. ... Than the nest of our Goldfinch we have no more beautiful specimen either of the basket in shape or the felted in structure. Symmetrical in form, delicately and beautifully woven, and ingeniously and firmly fastened around the forked twigs with which it is interlaced, it is an exquisite example of architectural beauty and finish."