Native Birds of Wisconsin: American Goldfinch
by Pallav Regmi, age 13
The American Goldfinch, while native to Wisconsin, is also found throughout most of North America.
With a body length of only five to nine inches, this finch is not a very big bird. Males are usually bright yellow with a black cap and wings, while females are a dull olive with no black cap. Their beaks are cone-shaped.
Adult American Goldfinches prefer bushy thickets, weedy grasslands, and trees, but their breeding locations are lakes, open landscapes, grasslands with scattered trees, and rivers. Breeding time for the goldfinch is similar to that of other songbird. The availability of seeds and nesting materials determines when they bread. The female lays four to six eggs that are either white or pale blue. The
incubation period is usually 10-12 days.
The flight pattern of the American Goldfinch is known as an undulating flight, meaning the bird in flight beats its wings several times rapidly with a pause afterwards. Its wingspan is about nine inches with a tapered shape.
The American Goldfinch is easy to spot because of its bright yellow color. It sings many musical warbles and trills that sound like a drawn-out “baybee” note. The flight song can resemble “per-chick-oree” or “po-tato-chips.” Be sure to look out for this bright and vocal bird the next time you are adventuring in Wisconsin.