Each year in spring, it seems both the Golden-crowned Kinglet and the Lesser Goldfinch make it a habit of collecting the hairy filaments off the leaves of several types of hardy yucca. We think the bird pictured here is a Dark-backed Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria), the smallest of the Carduelis species. This beautiful American seed eating songbird is common in the Sierra and is often seen in Reno backyards. They often gather in small groups around bird feeders and baths.
Interestingly, in 2009 UC Berkeley published a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about the effects of climate change on the birds of the Sierra Nevada. The study found that 48 out of 53 bird species studied actually migrated, following or "tracking" the climate the birds preferred. The study goes on to say the birds that didn't relocate, such as the Western Scrub-Jay, were ones able to live amongst the humans.