AN AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, SEEN IN PENN’S WOODS,
NEAR THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER
Dr. James J. S. Johnson
Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold. (Psalm 68:13)
The psalmist referred to a special dove having silver-covered wings, with feathers sporting yellow-gold highlights (literally, flight-feathers of greenish-gold). What a beautiful dove that must be! In America, however, there is a yellow-colored finch that we are more likely to see, the AMERICAN GOLDFINCH. It too could be called greenish-gold, because its plumage varies seasonally, from lemon-yellow to a light olive-green. Goldfinches are small passerines, monogamous (i.e., male-female couples permanently paired, as if married) gregarious (i.e., they travels and feed in flocks), and they migrate to and form the outer territories of their populational ranges — although they are year-round residents in much of their American range (see Wikipedia range map below: yellow for breeding-only, green for year-round residence, blue for over-wintering only).
For me, the first time I saw one was on Friday, July 22nd AD2016, as I was driving a rent-car on a wood-flanked country road that paralleled the Susquehanna River, in Pennsylvania, near Exeter, where the next day I would speak at the Pennsylvania Keystone Family Bible Conference, in celebration of 60 years of IN GOD WE TRUST being our national motto. Here is a quick limerick in honor and appreciation of the American Goldfinch. (Speaking of our national motto, IN GOD WE TRUST, it derives from THE STAR-SPANGELD BANNER, penned by attorney Francis Scott Key, during the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.)
AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, A YELLOW-FEATHERED FELLOW
Lemon-hued, they eat many seeds;
They’re social, so in flocks they feed;
Each true, to its mate;
God provides for all goldfinch needs.