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Home Backyard Bird Guide America's Top Backyard Birds America's Top Backyard Birds - Eastern North America American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

Bird Food Preferences

american goldfinch - maleBlack-oil sunflower, Nyjer®, and sunflower hearts

Bird Feeder Preferences

Tube, hopper, platform, and Nyjer®

Plants to Attract

Woody Plants: Alder, birch, cedar, and elm; Non-woody Plants: Annuals

Description

American Goldfinches can be found throughout the United States in large flocks that sometimes include Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls.  Their natural habitat is weedy fields and floodplains, but can also be found in other areas such as roadsides, orchards, and of course, backyards.

American Goldfinches vary from 0.4 ounces in the summer to 0.7 ounces in the winter.  They are on average five inches in length.  Goldfinches are sexually dimorphic, which means the male and female of the same species differ in appearance.  During the breeding season, males are bright yellow with a black forehead and black and white marks on their wings, while the females are yellowish brown.  In the winter, it can be difficult to distinguish the males from females because of their equally drab appearances.

Unlike most birds that breed in mid-spring, goldfinches do not breed until June or July.  This may be related to the availability of milkweed, thistle, and other plants, which goldfinches use for building their nest and feeding their young.  The male and female goldfinches determine a proper nesting site together.  The female builds the nest high in a shrub with rootlets and plant fibers and she lines it with plant down.

Similar Species

Pine Siskin, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and Lesser Goldfinch

 

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