Lawrence's Goldfinches at Glacier Lodge, Big Pine Canyon

Observers: Tom & Jo Heindel, Cliff & Wendy Peterson
Email: tjheindelataoldotcom
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Date: 07/10/2006
Time: 07:06 PM -0400


On 10 July we found five Lawrence's Goldfinches feeding on the dirt road near the store at Glacier Lodge, Big Pine Canyon. There were two adult males, one adult female, and two juveniles. One male and female stayed 'together' but the group was dispersed within a flock of ten Lesser Goldfinches. Pictures were taken. On 10 Jun 2006 David Holway found a male and female at Sage Flat Campground just below Glacier Lodge. He saw the pair again the following morning. That same afternoon a male and female were seen at Glacier Lodge, where we saw them, by Susan Steele. This species is so rarely reported from the county, and never before in Big Pine Canyon, that it was believed that it was the same pair that had moved upslope. Today's sighting makes this conclusion a little hasty. Breeding of Lawrence's Goldfinches has occurred in Independence and South Haiwee Reservoir so the presence of juveniles may indicate local breeding. According to the most recent Lawrence's Goldfinch account (Birds of North America, No. 480) "before independence, young join postnesting flocks containing adults and young, where they probably remain through the nonbreeding period." The young were feeding on their own and while close to the adults, never begged for food. They are known to disperse widely outside their breeding ranges so whether these birds are local breeders or postbreeding dispersals remains a mystery.

Photo by Jo Heindel