A Bird in an Avian Candy Store?

The ubiquitous American goldfinch can be found just about anywhere, at least sometime during the year, throughout the U.S. and southern Canada. This dazzling yellow male was photographed in what may be a finch version of a candy store. Except the “candy” preferred by finches are healthful seeds. According to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetarian diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.” The all-vegetarian diet of the goldfinch is a rarity in the bird world. Photographer and avid birder Travis Bonovsky couldn’t resist taking this vibrant photo. “I’m surprised the goldfinches were after the zinnia seeds as these flowers still had petals. But sure enough I caught a few frames where the bird had a nice plump seed in its bill. Recently, I have seen goldfinches visiting wild bergamot, thistle, goldenrod, cup plant, and garden-variety sunflowers.”

Note to gardeners: If you plant zinnias this spring, be certain they have been grown without the use of neonicotinoids (both systemic and topical). This pesticide is known to be harmful to birds, insects, pollinators, and more.

–Travis Bonovsky, photographer and avid birder