This small bird is easy to spot in the summer; the male is bright yellow with black wings (white wingbars) and the female is a drabber version. This bird moults twice each year, and in winter both sexes take on dull yellowy green coloring with darker wings. Both sexes have a conical bill.
The goldfinch flies in a very slightly undulating pattern, often singing as it goes. It usually travels in small flocks.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover, nesting sites. The American Goldfinch is unusual in that its diet is almost exclusively seeds; even the young eat seeds. In late summer the goldfinches take nest material from the abundant thistle and milkweed plants in the garden. Often the nest will be built in a thick shrub. Goldfinches also avidly eat seeds of many plants in or near the SBG including (but not limited to) sunflowers, cup plant, aster family plants, dandelions, and trees in the elm, birch, and alder families.
When can I see it?
Year-round, but particularly in late summer when flocks of goldfinches flit in and about the meadow twittering loudly.