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NEW WILMINGTON, Pa – Like a yoyo the American Goldfinch springs up and down as it flies across the open field where they are so commonly found. If you have ever encountered one of these birds it is easy to tell how it got its name. In the spring males shine a florescent yellow across much of their body. These birds are commonly found across all of North America where they brighten the mood all year round.

American Goldfinch basic plumage

To a beginning birder it is obvious you cannot always get a clear look of a bird from a distance. This can be quite frustrating when the birds won’t hold still or they are too far out to see any distinguishing characteristics. Often times it is helpful to know the shape and size of a bird to help with identification. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds helps describe the size and shape of the Goldfinch by noting that it is slightly larger than a Sparrow one can see a, “conical bill and small, head, long wings, and short, notched tail.” The plumage patterns are also a very useful tool to identify this bird. We already talked about how the American Goldfinch has bright yellow feathers on its head, breast, and back. It is important to note that the Goldfinch loses some of its color in the winter months, and turn a dull brown. Here are some other patterns that will help with further identification as noted by Cornell Lab of Ornithology;

American Goldfinch alternate plumage

  • Black wings, tail, and top of head
  • White wingbars
  • Orange, pointed bills
  • V-shaped, notched tail

If you are ever out searching for the American Goldfinch there are some certain habitats you might want to check. According to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds the Goldfinch good places to look are, “in semi-open areas having open weedy ground and some trees and bushes for shelter, roadsides, woodland edges, orchards, and suburban areas.” The main part of their diet consists of seeds so they are drawn to birdfeeders like many other species of birds. To check out different kinds of feeders that you might like to set out to attract the American Goldfinch check out this article.

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