I know there’s a family of American goldfinches nearby when I hear the call “beer BEE.”
Loud or soft, the accent is on the second syllable. Birds of North America Online spells it “bay bee”. I hear “beer BEE.”
The call is a warning to alert young goldfinches about a dangerous predator. Last Saturday (16 August 2014) I heard it repeated loudly for an hour while an immature Coopers hawk perched in my neighbor’s spruce tree. As soon as the hawk left the goldfinches stopped saying it.
Listen for the call and you’ll learn two things:
- There’s a goldfinch nest or young nearby and …
- There’s a hawk, cat or other danger in the vicinity.
(photo by Chuck Tague)