American Goldfinch in Winter Plumage

Bear River MBR American Goldfinch in winter plumageBear River MBR American Goldfinch in winter plumage – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I’ve really had a full plate this week which is why I’ve been writing such short posts for several days. Life gets hectic at times, what can I say?

Ten days ago I was at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and although it wasn’t really birdy that day it felt marvelous to be out on the refuge soaking in the scenery, birds and the quiet and away from city noises, from crazy news reports and from my desk. I was thrilled to photograph two American Bitterns that appear to be overwintering at the refuge, the bitterns are always great to see out in the open because usually they blend so well into their habitat.

I photographed a couple of American Goldfinches that morning too, as usual I heard the finches well before I spotted them foraging in some vegetation next to the auto tour route.

The American Goldfinches are in winter plumage right now, that can also be called nonbreeding plumage but the more technical terminology is Definitive Basic Plumage. American Goldfinches molt twice a year and they are the only member of their family to do so. The finches are certainly less colorful this time of the year but I like the soft colors and subtle hues of their plumage during the their nonbreeding season just as much as I enjoy seeing them in the breeding plumage.

Life is good.



  1. Marty January 27, 2018 at 11:46 am

    They’re beautiful birds even when they’re not trying to “show off” their feathers. 🙂

  2. judy January 27, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Boy, first I learned from you about the Winter plumage and non-breeding plumage and now I have to remember the new one….Definitive Basic Plumage.
    I don’t think I’m going to remember that one though. I’ll have to write it down 50 times. 🙂

  3. Liz Cormack January 27, 2018 at 7:19 am

    Yesterday I photographed a bird that I wasn’t sure what it was… I know. An American Goldfinch in winter plumage. Thank you!!!

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