Aug 07 2012

Potato Chip

Published by at 7:00 am under Bird Behavior,Songbirds

Have you seen a female goldfinch lately?

Female goldfinches disappear during most of July to spend 95% of their time on the nest.  They don’t even stop incubating to eat.  Their mates feed them at the nest by regurgitation.

To do this the male goldfinch (above) stores seeds in his crop, then flies in a big, undulating circle above his nesting territory, all the while singing “Potato chip, Potato chip.”

If his lady is hungry she calls softly to him from the nest, “teeteeteeteeteetee” and he flies down to feed her.

After the eggs hatch, the female broods them for four days.  And then, at last, she’s off the nest to help her mate feed the babies. Soon the fledglings will be at the feeders, too.

If you heard the “Potato chip” song above your yard in July, watch for goldfinch fledglings in August.

(photo by Chuck Tague)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Potato Chip”

  1. John Englishon 07 Aug 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Saw a few males while watching the Westinghouse bridge for peregrines. I’ve noticed an increase in males in the Frick Park neighborhood too. Now I know why!

  2. bhanceyon 07 Aug 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks for the insight. We (Central California) have American Goldfinches part of the year, and Lesser Goldfinches the other part. I assume the behavior is basically the same. Right now the babies (I think they are the Lesser GFs) are begging while they sit right on the food sock, which is fun to watch.

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