The American Goldfinch is a widespread finch that is native to North America, specifically the United States and Canada. It is most popular in Arkansas, California, North Carolina and South Carolina, along with the Canadian regions of British Columbia and Newfoundland.
It is generally found in plains, brush and fields in close proximity to rivers and other water sources. It is also commonly spotted in suburban areas and makes a colourful addition to local birdfeeders and birdbaths. Thistle plants are a primary source of nutrition for the American Goldfinch, so they generally make their habitat in close proximity to this plant.
Migration is common with this type of bird, as they fly south during the colder months of the year. Their flight, whether short or long in distance, is distinct in that the bird bobs up and down as if bouncing on air. The American Goldfinch is also known for its cheerful and expressive chirp.
This breed of bird is small in size, ranging from approximately 10-13 cm with a weight of 12-20 gm. The wingspan of the American Goldfinch ranges from 18-22 cm. While the male and female are similar in size, there is a degree of variation in their colouring. The male’s feathers tend to be brighter in colour, particularly in the striking combination of yellow and black. The female’s feathers are generally duller, featuring shades of yellow, gray, brown and black. A majority of the bird’s body is yellow, though it has black markings atop its head and throughout its wing and tail feathers.
In the wild, the American Goldfinch forages for seeds on the ground, which it also does when feeding near a birdfeeder. This breed of bird prefers grass, sunflower, teasel and nyjer seeds and is attracted to milkweed and thistle plants. Since they are known to consume seeds from weeds, many gardening enthusiasts appreciate the American Goldfinch’s consumption of seeds that come from plants that otherwise pose a nuisance.
While this type of bird is commonly seen in flocks, they are predominantly seen paired off during mating season.
The male and female American Goldfinches live in a nest that the female constructs. It is typically built in a bush or tree several metres off the ground. The nest, made of twigs and roots, is woven so tightly that it holds water, which could potentially pose a problem during heavy rains. Their breeding times are contingent upon the nourishment that is available to feed from, so the female may not lay her eggs until seed-bearing plants are at their peak.
The female lays 3-7 palely coloured eggs that hatch approximately two weeks later. The parents take care of their young, providing it with warmth and nourishment until they are able to survive independently, generally a couple of weeks after birth.
In addition to being an abundant bird in the North American region, it is also a beautiful bird that is a welcome addition to gardens and birdfeeders.