American Goldfinch

Species: Spinus tristis
Family: Fringillidae
Order: Passeriformes
Conservation Status: LC (least concern)

Other Common Names: Goldfinch

American Goldfinch 3-7-13 (1)

A male at the feeder by the fence. Mar 7, 2013.

The American Goldfinch is a North American Bird that overwinters in Texas. They primarily eat seeds, so they are common visitors to any feeders we put out.

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A female perched on a rainwater receptacle outside my window. Jan 6, 2013.

I don’t know if she was able to reach the water from where she was perched, but this demonstrates the fact that there are other beings around us in need of water sources, and that it’s good to keep something around that can supply that, and that it allows easier access, i.e. something shallow enough to drink from and bathe in without the danger of falling in and having no way out.

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A Goldfinch not willing to share with a Pine Siskin. Feb 12, 2013.

They are very small birds. They get aggressive with each other and other smaller bird species when at the feeders. Eventually larger birds like doves, blackbirds and Blue Jays start coming in frequently, scaring the smaller birds off and taking dominance over the feeders. At that point the smaller birds just get in whenever they can.

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Hind view. Mar 7, 2013.

Males have bright yellow coloring, while females have muted tones. But while they are wintering here, the colors are muted in both males and females. Toward the end of the cold season, you can see brighter yellow starting to come out around the heads of the males.

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Sitting in an egg carton feeder. Feb 15, 2013.

This picture makes me smile. It looks like a chick. It happened to be a very cold day, which is when they tend to puff themselves up a bit to stay warm.


Male and female Goldfinch with a Pine Siskin. Dec 12, 2012.

I have read that American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins flock together, and I see this is true when I observe them. Not always, but sometimes. They like to feed on the seeds of Wild Spinach (Lamb’s Quarters) plants. Since we like to harvest and eat the leaves of Wild Spinach, I let them grow as big as they can on the property and go to seed. After taking this picture, I decided to make sure to leave the branches and seeds intact for these overwintering birds.

This year, I made a couple of woodpiles for wildlife use as habitat. I had a bunch of very tall Wild Spinach plants blocking an area I needed access to just outside our back door, so I had to cut them down at the base to remove them. But otherwise I kept them intact and placed them on the woodpiles where small birds like to hang out.

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Flock of Goldfinches. Jan 25, 2013.

This is a common scene in a tree not far from the front porch when I have feeders out on the porch. This was a very cold, cloudy, wintry day, and you can see it in the puffiness of the birds as they try to stay warm while waiting for their next shot at the feeders. They may be waiting for some larger birds to fly off.

American Goldfinch 2-6-13 (2)

Bye Bye!   Feb 6, 2013.

Resources For More Information On This Species

Cornell Lab of Ornithology


National Geographic


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