American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Spinus
Species: tristis


This bird has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Hayward, California
Klamath River, California
Modesto, California
Oildale, California
Solvang, California
Turlock, California
Broomfield, Colorado
Denver, Colorado
Lebanon, Connecticut
New Milford, Connecticut
Ellendale, Delaware
Alford, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Quincy, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
Buford, Georgia
Byron, Georgia
Carrollton, Georgia
Hazlehurst, Georgia
Snellville, Georgia
Montpelier, Idaho
Algonquin, Illinois
Anna, Illinois
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Cherry Valley, Illinois
Divernon, Illinois
Fairfield, Illinois
Grayslake, Illinois
Palatine, Illinois
Rock Falls, Illinois
Taylorville, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Coatesville, Indiana
Corunna, Indiana
Greenville, Indiana
Winona Lake, Indiana
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Dubuque, Iowa
Sioux City, Iowa
Yale, Iowa
Calvert City, Kentucky
Crestwood, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Melbourne, Kentucky
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Hammond, Louisiana
Pownal, Maine
Clinton, Maryland
Hughesville, Maryland
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Parkville, Maryland
Silver Spring, Maryland
Halifax, Massachusetts
Dearborn, Michigan
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Madison Heights, Michigan
Remus, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Albertville, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Winona, Minnesota
Golden, Mississippi
Maben, Mississippi
Marietta, Mississippi
Tupelo, Mississippi
Bolivar, Missouri
Brunswick, Missouri
Cole Camp, Missouri
Conway, Missouri
Jackson, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Steelville, Missouri
Cut Bank, Montana
Bellevue, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Deerfield, New Hampshire
Merrimack, New Hampshire
Nashua, New Hampshire
Warner, New Hampshire
Beachwood, New Jersey
Butler, New Jersey
Marlton, New Jersey
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey
Scotch Plains, New Jersey
Woodstown, New Jersey
Hamburg, New York
Himrod, New York
North Tonawanda, New York
Pittsford, New York
Williston Park, New York
Yonkers, New York (2 reports)
Bear Creek, North Carolina
Concord, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Oxford, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Belle Center, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio (2 reports)
Corning, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio
Geneva, Ohio
Glenmont, Ohio
Haskins, Ohio
Hilliard, Ohio
Lebanon, Ohio
Mount Orab, Ohio
North Ridgeville, Ohio
Sidney, Ohio
Spencer, Oklahoma
Bend, Oregon
Gold Hill, Oregon
Hollsopple, Pennsylvania
Meshoppen, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania
Whitehall, Pennsylvania
Clarksville, Tennessee
Elizabethton, Tennessee
Summertown, Tennessee
Baytown, Texas
Combes, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Katy, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Magnolia, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Spring, Texas
Universal City, Texas
Winnsboro, Texas
Springdale, Utah
Essex Junction, Vermont
Edinburg, Virginia
Hurt, Virginia
Martinsville, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Penhook, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Edison, Washington
Shelton, Washington
Tonasket, Washington
Walla Walla, Washington
Morgantown, West Virginia
Appleton, Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Lander, Wyoming
Powell, Wyoming
Sheridan, Wyoming
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Jul 24, 2013, nutsaboutnature from Algonquin, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I love these birds! We have them year around and they have the sweetest songs. Their favorite feeder foods are Nyger and Sunflower seed, but they'll scrounge for naturally growing seeds of all varieties.

When my Coneflowers are in bloom, I'll sometimes see as many as half-a-dozen pulling out the seeds. For that reason I leave assorted types of flower heads standing rather than deadhead them, giving the goldfinches (and some other birds) seeds for part of the Winter.

I also love to watch the Goldfinch females stuffing their beaks with the natural fiber nesting fluff I have hanging in suet cages.

In Autumn, they change to their pale Winter coloring allowing them to blend in better with the drab background.


On Jan 28, 2012, Cville_Gardener from Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have these birds year around here and feed them in winter. They are such a delight!


On Dec 8, 2011, Suzy_Bee from Spring, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

These little birds make me so happy when they come to visit in November or December. I make sure they have plenty of nyger to eat!


On Aug 23, 2011, hydey6 from Corunna, IN wrote:

Another wonderful little bird to have around. They stay here year round and I enjoy watching their antics. I don't enjoy sharing, so I put two thistle feeders out for more room. They enjoy sunflower and coneflower seeds also. This week I see they are eating the rose buds...that's a new one on me. It's even better now that they have their babies coming to the feeders.


On Aug 31, 2010, themikeman from Concord, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this bird!!!..; and he loves my echinacea and my sunflowers. As the blooms are declining on these, he sits and eats the seeds out of the centers of these blackening pink coneflower echinaceas and the sunflower's centers too..peace. mike.


On Apr 27, 2010, bugqueen from Taylorville, IL wrote:

4 1/2 - 5" (11-14cm) Smaller than a sparrow. Breeding male shown. Females duller and grayer with black wings, tail, and white wing bars.
Nesting: Brushy thickets, weedy grasslands and nearby trees.
Range: SE British Columbia and Newfoundland south to Georgia, Oklahoma , Baja California and widespread in the NE, winters south to the Gulf Coast and southern Mexico.
Nests late so only a single brood is raised each season.


On Oct 11, 2009, SageOne from Birmingham, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:

Goldfinches love to feed on the seeds of my Echinaceas. They cling to the stalks, and peck the seeds from the cone part of this Coneflower.


On Oct 9, 2009, birder17 from Jackson, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

WE have lots of these birds year around. They are a pleasure to watch.


On Sep 28, 2009, goatzrus from Davidsville, PA wrote:

watching them @ the feeder outside the kitchen window adds much a place that it's normal to see rain for long periods of time.
they bring joy year-round!


On Sep 14, 2009, Phaltyme from Garden City, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have these birds year around. I love to hear them sing. I
have discovered something about them that surprised me,
they are NOT willing to share the feeder or any of the food.
They squabble noisily while attacking each other.


On Aug 24, 2009, misseymarie from Butler, NJ wrote:

Here in Butler New Jersey, we are loaded with American Goldfinche's all winter until about the middle of April, they fly away for the summer and return in September. I just love watching these birds change from their winter colors to their spring colors.


On Jul 27, 2009, jackstangle from La Conner, WA wrote:

Here on Samish Island WA there are lots of these guys in the summer. They are really pretty. They eat niger seeds here & thistle & dandelion seeds. So we allow weeds to grow on about a quarter acre for them. The deer also like weeds, so folks, don't kill ALL the nasty weeds, they are good for something.


On Jun 25, 2009, femluc from Elizabethton, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

These beautiful birds visit year round in East Tennessee. I keep the thistle sock filled for them and they know when it is empty, because they make themselves scarce until I fill it again. They are especially gorgeous in the winter with their bright colors against the white snowy background. They are very quiet birds that startle easily, but do not bother anything or other wildlife.


On Apr 10, 2009, alchemy_1300 from Pittsburgh, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Oh my I did not know this was called an American Goldfinch I've seen this beautiful little bird in my backyard and I've called them the "steeler birds"


On Mar 16, 2009, plantladylin from (Zone 1) wrote:

My book on Florida Birds tells me the American Goldfinch is found in this area from November through April but this is the first year I've ever seen them at the feeders in my yard. They seem to love Thistle seed and empty the bags quickly. I guess they are storing up energy for the long flight back north!


On Jan 18, 2009, FlipFlops from Brunswick , GA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love these sweet little birds. I have a sock hanging with thistle seed and see them everyday. Even though they do not have their summer plumage, they are just as pretty to me in the winter. Reminds me of the beauty that will be coming in the spring when the males change to their beautiful yellow and black color once again.


On Jan 5, 2009, n8turegardener from Nashua, NH wrote:

Every spring I await the arrival of the goldfinches. I plant a row of sunflowers along the back fence which becomes a magnet for them by mid summer. Their dare-devil antics to get the seeds form the flower heads are a real treat to watch.


On Jan 1, 2009, DMgardener from (Daniel) Mount Orab, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

They used to enjoy thistle feeders, but now they seem to enjoy Cosmos seedheads much more! I often see them arranged in oppisite sex pairs or in large groups.


On Dec 28, 2008, ClanCampbell from (Chris) Des Moines, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Talk about a ray of sunshine in your garden! We have them pretty well year round, although I haven't seen them as much this winter for some reason. They love the nyger and I always keep those feeders separated from the other feeders, so that the bigger birds don't bother them. Then I find the Goldfinch at a regular seed feeder.. go figure! :)


On Dec 27, 2008, dellrose from The Ozarks, MO (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love these little birds that will eat you out of house and home if given the chance. I let many of my flowers go to seed now and the Goldfinch as well as other birds eat the seeds in the winter when their natural food is scarce.


On Dec 27, 2008, rutholive from Tonasket, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have Goldfinches yearround. There are about 35 or more here in my yard eating at the upside down feeder, on the deck under it and at a round globe type feeder. Such neat little birds. Donna


On Dec 27, 2008, Mrs_Ed from Whiteside County, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Sweet birds here year-round. Enthusiastically munch on my sunflowers in August (planted just for them) and beyond. Will feed from a number of different feeders, preferring nyjer and sunflower.