This lively yellow bird is often called the “wild canary”. The male has bright yellow plumage with a black forehead, wings and tail. Females have similar markings, but are dull yellow-green. In the fall, males lose their bright yellow plumage and become drab like the female.
Almost any kind of feeder will attract American Goldfinches, including hoppers, platforms, tubes and nyjer feeders. Their preference is nyjer seed, black oil and hulled sunflowers, but they will also eat nutrasaff and millet.
This handsome little finch, the state bird of New Jersey, Iowa, and Washington, is welcome and common at feeders, where it takes primarily sunflower and nyjer. Goldfinches often flock with Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. Spring males are brilliant yellow and shiny black with a bit of white. Females and all winter birds are more dull but identifiable by their conical bill; pointed, notched tail; wingbars; and lack of streaking. During molts they look bizarrely patchy. We thank the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.