|Lesser goldfinch eating seeds|
As always, I uphold the tradition of the west, which is to shoot first and ask questions later (the questions being, "What kind of bird was that?") If I was to attempt to identify first before photographing it I would more likely have an identity but not any photos. I could be accused of being trigger happy, especially with my drive mode set to high - an uzi setting for cameras, capturing a myriad of images in the blink of an eye. Then, when I have time, I can put my feet up and check the critter that I photographed. Sometimes I get enough of the bird to warrant an identity, other times not.
I did that today, even though I took this picture some time ago (March 11, 2015). If you are wondering what this bird was doing here at that time of year, understand that it was shot in Palm Springs. I don't always get to my images right away, especially if I don't have my bird books with me. I went onto one of my favourite birding websites, whatbird.com, and used the search function. Black cap, perching bird, yellow breast, throat, and stomach with a solid pattern. There were over 100 matches at first and then it got narrowed down to eight; that was when I started clicking on potential subjects. The third click landed me on the lesser goldfinch - I had finally identified the culprit.
I find their behaviour very similar to the American goldfinches that we have around here; they flit from plant to plant looking for seeds to plunder. I don't know the particular type of plant, but in this area they are really fond of thistles that have gone to seed. I have also seen them taking apart fennel plants with a lot of gusto.
And so now I have another yellowish bird to add to my mental list, so when out and about and I happen to come across some golden bird with a predilection for larger plants with small seeds, I will more likely know what it is. If not, I can always bring out the guides, after I shoot it first that is.