American Goldfinches are the latest-breeding songbird species in this area. They molt their feathers a second time in the summer, which is unusual for most bird species and leads to increasingly bright colours as the season progresses. Their song is a cheerful musical babbling, and their flight call – po-ta-to chip! po-ta-to chip! – is distinctive. Look up when you hear that, and you’ll likely see at least one flying by with an undulating, or up-and-down – flight pattern.
Goldfinches use thistle seed in their nests and to feed their young, so they typically don’t nest until July after the thistles have gone to seed. You may have noticed more at your feeder these days. Many bird species that feed on seeds feed insects to their young, but not goldfinches, so they are probably quite busy right now preparing to nest and/or gathering food for young, so be sure to keep your feeders filled up!
As is true of most species at your feeder, Goldfinches can detect seed that has gone off and will only eat seed that’s fresh. They’ll be nesting soon, if not already, so continue to keep feeders full. And the fuller, the better… more food will attract more birds, and having food available at more of the feeder perches will reduce competition among individuals.
We have a good supply of finch feeders in stock to support you in supporting and enjoying these golden gems. They’re made of UV- and squirrel-chew-resistant plastic that’s guaranteed for life. Prices range from $15–$70, so there’s one available for almost any budget.
Photo credit: Nancy Comtois