Some of Laura's bird pictures

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Laura's European Goldfinch pictures

There is no way of determining whether this European Goldfinch has escaped from captivity, somehow come from the ONLY current natural breeding population in North America (in Bermuda), or made it across the ocean on its own power or by hopping a ship. It is pretty clearly not a recent escapee--the tail feathers are nice and healthy, so the bird hasn't been caged since at least before its last molt. And it doesn't bear a leg band. Had the bird sported ragged tail feathers or a leg band, we'd be 100% certain that it was an escapee. As it is, this is still a good possibility--a quick and cursory Google search shows that these birds are popular as pets and that someone in Brainerd Lakes was recently looking for one. But it's also possible that the bird somehow made it to Minnesota on its own power--based on last year's hurricane season, it's certainly possible that European Goldfinches were blown to the mainland.

When it comes right down to it, the bird is either wild or it isn't. But there's no way of knowing for absolute certain which it is. The MOU records committee will almost assuredly vote to not count this bird on the official Minnesota list because of the great likelihood that it did not arrive here from an established wild population. These records of non-established, probable escapees are still of great interest, and should be documented for historical purposes, should something about the bird's status here change, or should any further information about birds arriving here after hurricanes come to light.

These photos were taken through a window screen and suck. But they do show that the right leg is not banded. The photos below, taken outside (albeit in light rain) show that the left leg is unbanded.
All the above photos taken on June 4, 2005, with Sony DSC-H1. (In the rain.)  




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