Lesser Goldfinches -- Again


Scott Tuthill
 

I meant to add some thoughts to the messages a week ago, but I had to find the document with the notes I wanted to pass on. First, I would say that Lesser Goldfinches have, over the last 20 years, undergone the largest range and population expansion of any bird in, at least, the Boise/Treasure Valley area. It also has a very special place on my life list as, I believe, the only bird where I saw my "lifer" in my yard. I remember looking out one day and saw a small group feeding in lavender plants in our front yard.

As far as the notes I wanted to pass on - I have a copy of a 1986 publication "The Status of Historically Rare or Unrecorded Birds in Idaho" by Daniel Taylor and Charles Trost. The description of the Lesser Goldfinch is as follows: "This goldfinch is causal in Oregon, Wyoming, and British Columbia. It has been reported without detail to occur at Minidoka NWR as a rare spring and fall visitor. One was at the Portneuf Gap near Pocatello on 21 May 1976. Four were at Caldwell, Canyon Co. on 12-15 April 1980 and a pair (same birds?) were at nearby Nampa a month later. One was in Shoshone Basin, Lincoln Co. on 19 May 1982. They have been observed in Twin Falls Co. at T. 12S, R. 17E, Sec. 21 on 16 June 1979 and at Mullen Creek on 24 August 1979." So, 35 years ago, more or less, Lesser Goldfinches were so uncommon in Idaho that individual records were still being recognized. And, today, as I type this one is in the tree outside my window and more are coming into my thistle feeders than the sum total of the records mentioned in the 1986 publication. Pretty interesting.

Scott Tuthill

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