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Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday's Foto

American Goldfinches are a fixture at bird feeders around Brooklyn in the Winter months. Their mostly olive non-breeding plumage during that period isn't nearly as impressive as this brilliant breeding male that I spotted on Staten Island last Saturday. It is the only finch that undergoes a complete molt twice a year. While researching facts about this species I noticed that the scientific name has been changed twice. It was originally described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 and included in the genus Spinus with the name "Spinus tristis" (New World goldfinches and siskins). Then in 1976, Spinus was merged into the genus Carduelis, renaming the American Goldfinch "Carduelis tristis". At some point subsequent to that the American Ornithologists’ Union appears to have had a change of heart and returned the American Goldfinch to "Spinus tristis". A goldfinch by any other name is just as lovely.

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Exploring urban nature, birds, birdwatching, birding, hummingbirds, butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hawks, raptors, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, environment, binoculars, spotting scope