American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis
Fringillideae or Finch Family

Adult male

A small bird with a stout conical, pale orange bill and black eyes. Males are brilliant yellow in the breeding season, with black cap, black wings marked with white, and a black, notched tail. Females have similar patterns, but with a dull yellow to olive coloring. Both sexes have similar patterns in winter, but a dull yellow brown coloration. They eat seeds, and are particularly fond of thistle seeds, as in the picture

They are migratory, with their breeding range extending up into Canada, and their wintering range down to the Gulf Coast. Virginia is within the area where the breeding and wintering ranges overlap, so we can see them year round. Common in Wildwood. Also quite common at birdfeeders in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Males are unmistakeable in breeding plumage, based on the bright yellow and the bold black and white. Females and winter males are also easily identified by their pattern, but a careful look may be necessary.


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