The colorful American Goldfinch is one of our favorite Finches to spot flitting around thistle fields like tiny sunbeams.
Summer is a great time to see American Goldfinches because it’s their breeding season—and that means males’ feathers turn a brilliant yellow, with a recognizable black cap and wingtips. They fade to a duller olive in nonbreeding seasons and molt twice a year. They’re known for their lovely “po-ta-to-chip” calls, and can be spotted nesting in the hot and humid months of July and August.
American Goldfinches love weedy fields and plains—they’re quite acrobatic and hop/fly from stem to stem, making them easier to spot than some other birds—but are also common visitors to backyard feeders (they love sunflower seed and nyjer), especially in winter. If you’d like more to come around your yard, be sure to plant native thistles and milkweed.
🐝 The birds and the bees Go “birding with a purpose” this spring Have a nest in your yard? Start “Atlasing,” or noting the breeding behaviors you observe. This five-year-long project, held every 20 years, is conducted in many states to learn about bird populations to help aid conservation.
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