American Goldfinch

Invest some time in this little golden beauty.

By: Jerry Poindexter
Photography by RN Bowers Vireo 2

The American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) is a small bird, measuring between four and five inches in length. It has a summer plumage of lemon yellow or canary yellow offset by a black crown, wings, and tail feathers. There are four subspecies of American goldfinch, which is the state bird for Indiana, New Jersey, and Washington. You will find them in fields, gardens, orchards, and your bird feeder. The birds feed on wildflower seeds and thistles, food sources whose availability impacts the birds' breeding cycle. They are one of the last nesting birds to move south in the fall. 

The measurements for the pattern and painting notes were taken from study skins provided by Eastern Washington University.

This article is from the Winter 2012 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.


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