The American Goldfinch: Treasure of the Bird World


Like the precious metal, the American goldfinch is a coveted bird for bird enthusiasts. When one does see a goldfinch, their striking yellow color makes them stand out from the feathered crowd. They are quick little birds and do not like to perch for a long time. You’ll have to be quick to spot one!


These birds are found in summer throughout most of America. During winter, these little yellow birds like to travel in flocks. They are equally at home in hemlock and birch woodlands. Wind-blown fields are often dotted by the little golden bird, which stands out like a dazzling gem among the wildflowers.

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The goldfinch is restless during the summer, flitting about and feeding on thistles, dandelions, and sunflowers. During the winter, these birds travel in flocks, migrating sporadically like all finches do.


There are relatively few goldfinches in the northern States in winter. During April, the population increases greatly as males shed their bright breeding plumage. In early May, more migrate to feast on the seeds of elm trees. Nesting occurs in July and August, since fresh thistle and other seeds are plentiful.


The nest of the goldfinch is built from thistledown (the hairy substance found in thistle flowers) and vegetable fibers. There are four to six bluish-white eggs laid per clutch.

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