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Bird Songs and Sounds
Bird calls and sounds can be a great way to identify if certain birds are nearby or what activities they may be up to. Click the icon to hear some audio clips of the American goldfinch.

American Goldfinch

Spinus tristis

Species Spotlight
Goldfinches migrate irregularly with most of the population remaining in northern areas when there is good food supply. If food is more scarce, goldfinches will migrate south in mid-fall and back north in early spring. For those goldfinches that reside in western PA, winter can either mean migration or an influx of more goldfinches migrating from colder northern areas. This can result in a scarcity of food for the species. To help this spotlight species you can offer feed during their migration to accommodate for the influx of birds. Also, throughout the winter when natural food sources may be scarce. This can help keep any local non-migratory goldfinches from moving out of their range.  


Enjoys patches of thistles and weeds and can be seen along roadsides, open woods, and woodland edges. Found at all seasons in semi-open areas having open weedy ground and some trees and bushes for shelter. Especially favors areas of second growth, stream sides, roadsides, woodland edges, orchards, and suburban areas. In winter, also in some very open fields farther from trees.

Wild Feeding Behavior
Omnivorous, but its diet is primarily seeds. Usually forages for food in small flocks. Especially enjoys seeds from the daisy family. Will eat buds, maple sap, and young bark when available. Feeds on insects when they are abundant in summer. The young are fed mostly regurgitated seeds.

Nesting Habits
The nest is built by the female. It consists of twigs, weeds, leaves, and bark strips, lined with fine grass or hair in an open cup shape.

Eggs and Young
Pairs have 2-7 eggs incubated by the female for 12-14 days. The male feeds the female during incubation. The male and the female provide food together at first, but the female's role gradually declines. The young fledge about 11-17 days after hatching.

Common throughout the entire northern US, from Oregon to mid/coastal California, east to Virginia, and north to Maine and sometimes Canada. Goldfinches mate in the northern portion of their range into Canada during late summer and migratory finches will reside across the states from southern California to Georgia, south to northern Mexico during the winter.

Preferred Feeds
Nyjer seed, millet.

Preferred Feeders
Small platform, small cylinder.

Feed and Feeders

All Seasons - Common

All Seasons - Uncommon

Breeding - Common

Breeding - Uncommon

Winter - Common

Winter - Uncommon

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