The American Goldfinch, also known as the Wild Canary and the Eastern Goldfinch, is a North American bird that is part of the finch family. It is a migratory bird that ranges from Canada to North Carolina during the breeding season, and just south of the Canadian border down to Mexico during the wintertime.
American Goldfinches - male (right), female (left)
This bird is the only finch that actually undergoes a complete moult. It also has sexual dimorphism displayed in its colouration. During the summer months, the male is a vibrant yellow, and during the winter it is an olive colour. The female is a dull yellow-brown during the winter, and is only slightly brighter during the summer time. The male has bright plumage during the breeding season in order to attract a mate.
The American Goldfinch is a granivore. It prefers eating seedheads, and has a conical-shaped beak that is used to remove the seeds. It also uses its agile feet in order to grip onto the seedheads while it is eating.
This bird is rather social. It will gather in large flocks when both migrating and feeding. It sometimes will act territorial when it is building a nest, but it is only short-lived. Breeding season is tied to the peak of its food supply. This occurs in late July. It is a generally a monogamous bird, and produces only one brood a year.
American Goldfinches in a backyard with a sock feeder
Unlike many animals, human activity has generally benefited the American Goldfinch. It is often seen in residential areas as they are attracted to bird feeders which increase its survival rate in these human residential areas. Other than installing bird feeders in backyards, they are also attracted to perennial plants and grass such as globe thistles, bee balms, cosmos, and zinnias as these actually create the seedheads which the American Goldfinch likes to consume. In addition, deforestation creates open meadows which are actually the preferred habitat for these creatures.
The American Goldfinch is the state bird of Washington, New Jersey, and Iowa.