Greetings: we have a thistle feeder and have been attracting Lesser Goldfinches. All the males I've seen are green-backed. I figured we just didn't have any black-backed in the area -- until yesterday. I feel confident I sw a black-backed male, but do they really occur here? Thanks.
I've seen black-backed, I believe, but they're not "regulars". Perhaps just passing through.
Down here in the Near N. Valley the black backed males are so normally seen I didn't even know about the others. We have running water in our side yard and we see the Lessers every day, several times a day. They are here all year but seen less often in the warm months.
The black-backed ones I've seen have black backs with white checks, so not solid black. A few weeks ago on a weekday afternoon, on Cornell north of Garfield I heard a bird singing beautifully and I finally saw and got pics of what I'm sure was a Lesser, though he was way high in a tall tree so I could only really see his belly. He was lemon yellow and had a dark head. I suppose he might have been an American Goldfinch but a Lesser is more likely. They haven't often come to my feeder at work in that same area (there may be enough wild seed available), but I have seen them at my home niger thistle feeder and elsewhere in the downtown neighborhood.