Rare Bird Alert in Long Island

5594_American_Goldfinch_and_European_Goldfinch_copyrightPlease help me identify this bird – it was feeding at my Thistle Seed feeder, even upside down. Also, fed at the Sunflower seed feeder, too. The location is Long Island, New York.

–Charles Goodman, a.k.a. Professor G

Our team of birding experts jumped on the chance to help Professor G identify this bird. What can we say? Finding an out-of-range bird is exciting! Here’s how our team responded:

Thank you for the beautiful photographs and the fun challenge. You are very lucky to have such an exotic foreign guest at your feeder! This beautiful bird is the European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), native to Europe, North Africa, and central Asia. The European Goldfinch has been introduced to other areas, such as southern Au5595_American_Goldfinch_and_European_Goldfinch_copyrightstralia, New Zealand, and even the US. About 100 years ago these birds were established on Long Island, but those colonies died out and now they’re considered rare in North America. In recent years, there have been many sightings of them in the Mid-West where they are believed to be nesting. They are hardy birds and able to withstand cold winters. Like their American cousins, these little birds like sunflower and nyjer seed, so you may be able to keep this visitor around for a while! I would encourage you to report the sighting to your local Audubon Society.

Email us your photo and we can help identify the bird at your feeder, too. This is what we live for! Or you can give us a call at 1-888-879-5095 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. You can also report your rare bird sighting to your local Audubon Society. Thank you, Professor G, for letting us share your photos of this beautiful pair of birds–an American Goldfinch and a European Goldfinch!

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  • Lisa April 10, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    I saw this species at my thistle feeder on April 8 and again on April 9, 2015 in East Hills, New York.