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American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch
Spinus tristis
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.

American Goldfinch, winter female
American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Top © Kim Hosen; Woodbridge, VA suburban neighborhood; December 2010
Lower left © Kim Hosen; suburban neighborhood, Woodbridge, VA; January 2010
Lower center © Julia Flanagan; North Chagrin Nature Reservation, Cleveland, OH; November 2010
Lower right and bottom row © Kim Hosen; suburban neighborhood, Woodbridge, VA; Feb. 2007, May 2007, April 2009
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