They’re Baaaa-aaaaack!


American Goldfinches

(Click to Zoom)

The goldfinches and Threeps, of course!  Didn’t have a large showing of fall migrants this year, for some reason. (Maybe because we had almost no fall.) But now that we are in spring mode, things are picking up.  Sunday, I spotted the first American goldfinches at my feeders.  My two were still in winter plumage, looking pretty drab when you think of how they will look in another few weeks.  But I’m happy to see them.

And as for the Threeps…okay, really they are Great Crested Flycatchers…they made themselves known this past weekend, too, by announcing their presences from the treetops all day long.  “Threep.  Threep. Threeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!” It has become one of my favorite sounds in the garden, and if I watch closely, I will see them swoop out from a handy tree branch to snatch flying insects out of the air, then return to the tree to devour them.  Hence the name “flycatcher.”


Great Crested Flycatcher

(Click to Zoom)

Flycatchers in general, are fairly drab brownish gray birds, but the Great Crested flycatcher is actually quite handsome, with a wash of lemon yellow on the belly and rust colored patches on the wings and tail. He has just enough of a crest  to give his head a shaggy, slightly over-large look.  I love that this bird will be with me all summer long, and will probably nest in my oaks, though I’ll likely not see where. Maybe I’ll put up a box this year.   These guys will use them, if they are hung to their specifications, and at least I’d see where they were raising their young.

Are you seeing any spring migrants yet in your yard?

To hear the calls and songs of these two birds, click the links below:

(Scroll down to button that says “Typical Voice”)

American Goldfinch:

(Scroll down to the last recording to hear the “Threep!” call.)

Great Crested Flycatcher:

All photos found online.

8 thoughts on “They’re Baaaa-aaaaack!

  1. I get a lot of goldfinches on my patio, but never ever ever a crested flycatcher! Perhaps they don’t live this far north? Now that I have a full-time feral cat living on my patio and several others who like to visit, I’m guessing my back yard bird population will be significantly smaller than other years.


    • HI, SC. You get those lovely goldfinches in full breeding plumage, too, lucky you! Sometimes they stay here long enough that the males are almost there, but since they don’t breed here, they head on up your way to share their full glory with you all summer.

      Great crested flycatchers do live in your part of the country (PA, right?). In fact, they breed there. But they aren’t always quite so urban as goldfinches. It may be that they are more common in your park areas, perhaps. Though if you don’t know what you are listening for, you might not know you have them. They can be hard to spot, and they don’t come to feeders.

      I sent you a couple of private messages, btw, in case you didn’t find them)


  2. Great to read this.
    I saw some Goldfinches, yesterday as I took a walk. I was going to do a search on the Internet and forgot. I have been hearing the threeps from my porch. I have seen so many visitors by the brook. Bathing and drinking. I need to slow down and ID, the birds.


    • OH, Felix, you have such a WONDERFUL place to see them passing through. I’m pretty sure I saw bluebirds there the other day. And your stream is like a bird magnet! I’m glad you are seeing some good ones. Enjoy them, mi amigo!!


      • There are so many bluebirds and Red Cardinals. A big beautiful hawk came down to my Sycamore Tree and flew up immediately. Some little birds were chasing it. I thought it was after my two little dogs. Lots of Mourning doves.
        All are very welcome but not the Blue Heron. I want to build up the population of my koi fish.


  3. Don’t worry about the dogs, Felix. They are too big for most hawks (who weigh in at less than 2 pounds usually) to hurt. Woe be unto the hawk that tries to grab one of our brave little dachshunds! I think they’d regret it a long time. I don’t blame you for not wanting the heron to eat your koi. I’d be putting up a BIG SCARECROW! *grin* Now when you say “bluebirds” are you meaning eastern bluebirds or our bluejays? Just curious. You should have both out there. Do you have any white-winged doves too, or just the mourning doves? Nowadays, my white-wings outnumber the mourning doves by about 5 to 1! Amazing.


  4. We have blue jays but eastern blue birds population has been growing so much. Mourning doves is what we got. The white winged, I have not noticed.


    • Good to know. Now I’m certain what I saw the other day were bluebirds. The light was behind them, so it was hard to tell, but that’s what I thought they were at the time. You have the perfect type of property for them, since they aren’t really “backyard birds” down here. I’ve always seen them in open areas, fields, meadows, and the like. Your property fits the bill. Have you ever thought about putting up bluebird nest boxes along your fence? Jonas would get a major kick out of watching them raise their young. One more wonderful growing-up-in-the-country experience for him to share with his Papa.


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