APRIL 13—The Lesser Goldfinch is neither less nor least nor lacking. Among goldfinches in North America he is the smallest but has the hardiest disposition, wintering further north than the other two species. He breeds much further north than the Lawrence’s and handles more arid habitat than the American. I found one feeding on the ground a few blocks from home in McMinnville, in one of those front gardens that are wonderfully unkempt and probably unsprayed. Take a look at this male in his breeding plumage, every bit as bold and bright as the other two.
This species was first discovered for science by Thomas Say (of phoebe fame) on the Long Expedition to the Rocky Mountains. The exploration led by Major Stephen Long explored the central Great Plans and the eastern slope of the Rockies in 1819-1820. Say went along as zoologist.