A small (5 inches) finch, the male American Goldfinch in summer is most easily identified by its bright yellow body; black cap, wings, and tail; and conspicuous white rump patch. Female American Goldfinches are duller yellow overall than males, and lack black on the head. In winter, both sexes become duller yellow-brown on the back, head, and breast. The American Goldfinch breeds across much of the United States and southern Canada. In winter, northerly-breeding populations move south, expanding outside of this species’ breeding range into the coastal southeast, the southwest, northern Mexico, and the coast of California and Oregon. Birds breeding in the mid-latitudes migrate short distances, if at all. American Goldfinches breed in a variety of open habitats, including meadows, bushy fields, and (in modern times) urban and suburban yards. This species utilizes similar types of habitat in winter as it does in summer. American Goldfinches primarily eat seeds, including tree seeds and seeds of weedy groundcover plants. In appropriate habitat, American Goldfinches may be seen perched on the stalks of small plants while eating seeds from pods at the top. Goldfinches are also common feeder birds, and may be observed feeding in mixed groups of finches and other small songbirds. American Goldfinches are primarily active during the day.
- McGraw, Kevin J. and Alex L. Middleton. 2009. American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online: http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/080
- Peterson, Roger Tory. Birds of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980. Print.
- eBird Range Map - American Goldfinch. eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, N.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ebird.org/ebird/map/amegfi.
- Carduelis tristis. Xeno-canto. Xeno-canto Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://xeno-canto.org/browse.php?query=Carduelis+tristis.
- American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). The Internet Bird Collection. Lynx Edicions, n.d. Web. 20 July 2012. http://ibc.lynxeds.com/species/american-goldfinch-carduelis-tristis.
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