Monday, March 23, 2009

A Little Flash of Happy

There is a noisy bunch of birds that live, or at least seem to "hang out," in the Cottonwood tree across the street from my apartment. The tree is massive, easily dwarfing everything else around it, except for a few other Cottonwood trees in the area. These birds habitually inhabit that tree and make a racket in the process. Not that I mind, except nearly every single one of those birds are European invasive species that wreaks havoc on local bird populations. But today, as I was checking the mail I heard a call rising above the usual chatter. There in the flowering plum tree in my neighbors yard was a brilliant bird I'd never seen before.

I stared at it for a while, watching and listening, trying to remember all of it's features so I could get online and figure out what it was. Turns out it is a Lesser Goldfinch, and it sure has a pretty call. I wonder if this guy lives around here, or if he's just passing?

"The lesser goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria, occurs throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America, as well as in portions of northern South America. In Utah, this bird can be found statewide at mid to low elevations, but most predictably in the southern half of the state. Utah breeding populations generally withdraw south in winter, with the exception of birds in the southwestern corner of the state, which are year-round residents of the same area. This bird prefers scrub woodlands, such as scrub oak and pinyon-juniper habitats."

Credits: Text and Photo from Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

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