We’ve had a few little lovelies at our feeder the past two days: American Goldfinches! To me, Goldfinches are the definition of “cute”. American Goldfinches live throughout the United States and are the state bird here in New Jersey. Many people picture them as bright little yellow birds. They are little yellow birds, but they don’t always have bright plumage (feathers).
In the spring , when you see a very bright yellow Goldfinch you are seeing an adult breeding male. Adult breeding males also have shiny black wings with white wingbars (distinct stripes of contrasting color across the wing) and a black cap (spot on top of their heads). They have orange conical bills.
Adult breeding females are much duller in color throughout their whole bodies. Non-breeding goldfinches are grayish-brown with brown/black wings and a little yellow on their faces. In the winter all goldfinches have dull plumage, but can still be identified by the bill shape and wingbars. When males are transitioning to breeding plumage they will have patches of black on their heads.
I can’t wait to see more American Goldfinches as we get closer to spring. Have you been seeing goldfinches at your feeders lately?