[CT Birds] Gull-Goldfinch Questions

David F Provencher david.f.provencher at dom.com
Mon Aug 30 12:29:25 EDT 2010


I have heard anecdotally that American Goldfinches (and Lesser for that matter) have been observed eating the leaves of several plants, tearing bits out between the leaf's veins. Presumably there is some specific nutrient that this may provide? I can't imagine it's insect gleaning, there really should be no leaf shredding for that. Our three Goldfinches in the US are very heavily granivorous, as you know, but I thought I'd check the Birds of North America account. Here is a snippet:

 "Known to consume other items as varied as green algae (Spirogyra porticalis; Dorsey 1963, Kilham 1980) and maple sap"

Very interesting observation Paul.


-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of Carrier Graphics
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2010 11:49 AM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: [CT Birds] Gull-Goldfinch Questions

Have two questions to ask..........

# 1 - Recently, I saw 3 Ring-billed Gulls fly by near a Mall in Torrington.
All 3 were in direct flight, but they were occasionally cutting about as they 
as if catching insects from the air as swallows often do.
  I have never seen Gulls do this before.
 Has anyone ever seen this behavior in gulls before?

#2 - this morning, I again saw 7 Goldfinch on the side of the road
picking and eating the big leaves of Coltsfoot. I saw them doing this
 2 days before in same spot. Last year, they ate my Swiss-chard
in the same manner, perching on the leaf then eating 
only the areas between the veins. A bit unusual to see a passerine bird species
eating leaves. 
Has anyone ever seen this behavior in Goldfinch before?

Paul Carrier - Harwinton
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