in this position until the bird-lime has run out in the form of a slender thread considerably below the twig, when feeling a certain degree of security, it beats its wings and flies off, with a resolution, doubtless, never to alight in such a place again; as I have observed Goldfinches that had escaped from me in this manner, when about to alight on any twig, whether smeared with bird-lime or not, flutter over it, as if to assure themselves of its being safe for them to perch upon it.
Fringilla tristis, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 320.—Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 62.—Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 111.
American Goldfinch, Fringilla tristis, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 288.—Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 20. Pl. 1. fig. 2. Adult Male in Summer.—Ch. Bonaparte, Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 57. PI. 6. fig. 4. Female.
Adult Male in spring. Plate XXXIII. Fig. 1.
Bill rather short, conical, very acute; upper mandible a little broader than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the sides, as is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute; the gap line straight, not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck short. Body pretty full. Legs of moderate length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella; toes scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws very slender, much compressed, acute, and slightly arched, that of the hind toe not much larger.
Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the third and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long. Tail of ordinary length, forked, the lateral feathers curved outwards a little towards the tip.
Bill and feet yellowish-brown. Iris dark brown. The general colour of the plumage is a rich lemon-yellow, fading posteriorly into yellowish-white. Fore and upper part of the head, wings, and tail, black; quills externally margined, and the large coverts tipped, with yellowish-white; inner webs of the tail white.
Length 4½ inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge ⅓, along the gap 5/12.
Adult Female in spring. Plate XXXIII. Fig. 2.
The female wants the black spot on the head, and in her the fine yellow of the male is changed into brownish-olive, fading posteriorly into yel-