Mystery Bird: Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria

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[Mystery bird] Lesser Goldfinch, Carduelis psaltria, photographed in Arizona. [I will identify this bird for you tomorrow]

Image: Richard Ditch, 15 May 2008 [larger view].

Date Time Original: 2008:05:15 08:07:26
Exposure Time: 1/45
F-Number: 5.60
ISO: 500

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Rick Wright, author of Aimophila Adventures and Managing Director of WINGS Birding Tours Worldwide, writes:

Now comes a teeny, short-tailed, yellowish bird from Arizona. The short tail and the thick, frowny bill identify the bird as a Lesser Goldfinch, an identification supported by the details of the wing pattern: note especially the obvious white flash across the base of the primaries, which translates in flight into a nice white checker.

Review all mystery birds to date.

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I'm going to hazard a Lesser Goldfinch. Finch-like bill, yellow bird, and lack of the American Goldfinch's prominent wingbars.

I was thinking female Lesser Goldfinch, too, but the complete lack of markings on the wings gives me pause. I feel like there should be _some_ sort of wingbar action there for a goldfinch.

It's not going to be a common bird based on the time and location, but I think I'm going to guess instead that it's a female Painted Bunting.

Definitely a finch or bunting type bird, with that bill. I was thinking about female painted bunting, but the bird doesn't show as much greenish as I'd expect, and it'd be a rarity to boot, so my is going to have to be a very dull female lesser goldfinch.

Hmmm. First I was all about the buntings, now the bill looks more finch-like. The best guess I can hazard is a female American goldfinch.