(Carduelis tristis)

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The yellow plumage of the male American Goldfinch gives this bird it's name, as it is seen all round this area during the summer months, and they are one of our favourite Backyard Birds.

Male Goldfinch on a branch

Although they are residents here, year round, their yellow plumage is only visible during the summer time as they return to their dull winter colours in the fall, and now it is September and the birds will soon have their winter colours.

The males are bright yellow with a black cap, the females are not as colourful during the summer as the males are, and in the winter they are both a much duller olive colour.

Around here, these birds are often called Wild Canaries, which is incorrect, but it does describe their appearance, which looks a lot like a Canary, and they are about the size of a Sparrow.

Here on our Hobby Farm, we see these bright little birds in the Summer time, eating the tall Thistles which grow around the edge of our fields.

Goldfinch female sitting on a branch

I think this must be their favourite food because flocks of them descend upon these weeds, which they eat with much enjoyment!

These birds build their nests in Pussy Willow bushes, Orchards and other trees, and build their nest from plant fibers, grasses and even strips of bark.

Often seen in trees which are in open spaces, these are sociable birds which love to feed and fly with their own kind, but during the winter time, they flock with their close relatives, the Siskins and Redpolls and can be seen feeding in fields of weeds and orchards.

They begin nest building in late June or July when other birds have already finished breeding, with the female doing the majority of the building, then these little birds lay their 4 or 5 pale blue-white eggs.

American goldfinch on a branch in the sunlight

The female Goldfinch is a good and faithful mate, until her eggs have hatched, at which time some of these ladies fly the nest and find another male with whom to mate, and lay another clutch of eggs!

The youngsters are brown during their first fall and winter, with buff wing markings and black shoulders, which differentiates them from the adult birds.

These birds live all across southern Canada including Southern Ontario.

These beautiful birds eat the seeds of Thistle, Ragweed, Sunflowers, Dandelion, and can be attracted to your back yard bird feeder filled with Niger seed (sometimes called Nyger or Njger seed).

Below is a YouTube video of the
American Goldfinch
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

American Goldfinch Info ...

Hinterland Who's Who - the American Goldfinch
Excellent info about this beautiful bird of Southern Ontario - "le chardonneret"

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