Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Do Goldfinches Wait Until July To Nest?

Notoriously late nesters, goldfinches have been waiting for the thistles to bloom. When this happens in July, it signals the goldfinches that they can start building their nests which are made primarily of the silver fibers and down of thistle blooms.

Generally, the nest is built in the fork of a horizontal tree limb, 4 to 14 feet above the ground. The female builds a durable, neat cup of thistle and cattail fibers, so dense that it will hold water.

In it she lays 4 to 6 pale blue to white eggs and then she incubates them for 12 to 14 days, until they hatch. The attentive male often feeds his mate while she sits on the nest. Read the entire article.

Editor's Note:

Since goldfinches need thistle plants as a source for their nest building, it's great if you can include an area of your wildlife habitat that allows some of these tenacious plants to bloom.

They grow upright with only one flower head per stem. They are great for supporting other local wildlife like butterflies (it's a host plant for the larvae/caterpillar stage and also a nectar source for adults), bees, and hummingbirds.  It's a perfect wildflower to include in naturalized areas or prairie gardens.

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