My Bantam Lake

American Goldfinch

Written on 06/10/2018



Spinus tristis

The American Goldfinch is a small finch with a short, conical bill and a small, head, long wings, and short, notched tail. They measure 11 to 13 centimeters in length, with a wingspan of 19 to 22 centimeters. Adult males in spring and early summer are bright yellow with black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches both above and beneath the tail. Adult females are duller yellow beneath, olive above. Winter birds and juveniles are drab, unstreaked brown, with blackish wings and two pale wingbars. These are active and acrobatic little finches that cling to weeds and seed socks, and sometimes mill about in large numbers at feeders or on the ground beneath them. Goldfinches fly with a bouncy, undulating pattern and often call in flight, drawing attention to themselves. The goldfinch’s main natural habitats are weedy fields and floodplains, where plants such as thistles and asters are common. They’re also found in cultivated areas, roadsides, orchards, and backyards. American Goldfinches can be found at feeders any time of year, but most abundantly during winter. This species is of low conservation concern.

Fun Facts:

  • American Goldfinches are the only finch that molts its body feathers twice a year, once in late winter and again in late summer. The brightening yellow of male goldfinches each spring is one welcome mark of approaching warm months.
  • Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.
  • Goldfinches are among the strictest vegetarians in the bird world, selecting an entirely vegetable diet and only inadvertently swallowing an occasional insect.
  • The oldest known American Goldfinch lived to be at least 10 years 9 months old.

 

Source: America Goldfinch Overview and Identification Information, All About Birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Goldfinch/overview