One of our most colorful birds is the goldfinch. There are three varieties of these birds, the American Goldfinch, Lawrence’s Goldfinch and the Lesser Goldfinch. Male goldfinches are extremely colorful — primarily yellow with striking black and white markings. The females and young do have some yellow on them, but are primarily a dull greenish-brown color.
Goldfinches are different than other birds in a couple of ways. Although they do feed insects to their young, they are almost entirely seed eaters, eating the seeds of weeds and flowers such as sunflowers, zinnias, goldenrod, asters and especially thistle seeds. Thistle goes to seed later in the summer and produces thistledown which helps the seeds disperse with the wind. It also makes wonderful nesting material and a goldfinch’s nest is completely lined with it. As a result of their dependency on the thistle plants, goldfinches nest later in the summer than most birds as they wait for the thistle plants to mature and produce seeds.
Goldfinches can be attracted to your yard by offering them a seed that’s very similar to thistle seed. It’s called Nyjer seed and goldfinches love it. It’s not related to the thistle plant at all and is often called thistle by people who feed birds.
Here is a great video about the goldfinch.
American Goldfinch in HD
Here are a few clips I put together of the American Goldfinches that visit my feeders. They are fun to watch and have an interesting way to feed, upside down if you have the right feeder. You can get many feeding at once…Happy Birding!