American Goldfinches

by A Home For Wild Birds.com
Photo by Michael A Del Monaco
(Connecticut)

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

Have you a garden filled with marigolds, sunflowers, zinnias, cornflowers, and coreopsis? If so, every goldfinch in your neighborhood knows it and loses no time in feeding on the seeds of these plants.


You can always tell a goldfinch by its wavy course through the air. Often as it flies, you can hear a ripple of sweet, twittering note. The goldfinch is sometimes called a wild canary because it sings like one.

But goldfinches are by no means dependent on our gardens for their daily fare. Dandelion, ragweed and thistles are special favorites.

Usually not until July, when the thistles furnish plenty of fluff for nest lining, do pairs of goldfinches withdraw from flocks to begin the serious business of raising a family.

A compact, cozy, cup-like structure of fine grass and moss, is placed in the crotch of a tree or sometimes even in a tall thistle plant.

Except for the cedar waxwings, the goldfinches are the latest nesters of all our birds. As their love making is prolonged through the entire summer, so is the sweet, tender, canary-like song of the male. Dear, dear, dearie, you may hear him sing to his dearest all day long.


In summer, throughout his long courtship, he wears a bright, lemon-yellow wedding suit with black cap, wings, and tail, while his sweetheart is dressed in a duller green or olive yellow. After the August molt he emerges a dingy olive-brown, sparrow bird, in perfect color harmony with the wintry fields.

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