Family Fringillidae (Grosbeaks, Finches)
The American Goldfinch is a year round resident of Northern Virginia. In winter, flocks often move from fields and floodplains to areas with good access to bird feeders. In colder climates, flocks travel to warmer areas where food is available.
In summertime, the males are brightly colored and easy to recognize. The plumage of both sexes is muted in wintertime.
Goldfinches eat very few insects and rely of a wide variety of seeds, including grasses, trees and wildflowers.
When finches fly, they beat their wings a few times, close them and repeat. This gives then a rise-and-fall, undulating flight pattern, which is easy to recognize.