News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Country birds

The American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) are gathering in fields and farms and bird feeders, as thistles and grasses are reaching maturity. The bright warbles and twitters are heard as they feed or fly overhead.

This small finch eats only seeds and waits til June and July to nest because the harvest of seeds will feed their nestlings in August and September. They complete a yearly second feather molt which is unique within their species.

The female builds the nest with spider silk, plant fibers, and line it with plant pappus. The male will perform a fluttering flight display while singing. The female lays 2-7 pale, bluish-white eggs that incubate for 12-14 days. The young finches spend 11-17 days being fed a seed diet before leaving the nest.

The American Goldfinch is almost always found in pairs or larger family groups as they habituate open fields and also alder, birch, and elm trees. The state bird of New Jersey, Iowa, and Washington, it is common throughout the U.S. Referred to as the “lightning bird” and in groups as a “charm,” a “rush,” or a “treasury” of goldfinches.

For more American Goldfinch photos visit


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