American Goldfinches

This gallery contains 4 photos. After two years of trying to entice them into the backyard with nyjer seeds, sunflower seeds, bird bath, and fresh water, our efforts bore fruit about 2 weeks ago when I noticed the olive-coloured female making rounds to retrieve nesting material from the side and back of the house. Photographed in the evening of June 7.

she’s on the hockey stick aka squirrel baffle-equipped feeding station
f/9, 1/250, 500mm, ISO 1600, diffused flash

It took another week for her mate, the brightly-coloured male, to also make an appearance in the backyard. The bamboo stakes we use to prop up tall-growing plants have become his favourite perch. Photographed in the evening of June 7.

he’s puffed out and enjoying some quiet time on one of many bamboo stakes in the backyard
f/9, 1/250, 500mm, ISO 1600, diffused flash

He accompanies the female on many of her trips to eat, bathe, and gather nesting material (she is still doing so after a week; it takes time to build the nursery!) She does give him an earful when he gets too close to her when she’s eating! I was surprised to learn that American Goldfinches don’t just eat seed; in the spring and summer, they also feed on aphids. Being natural pest control specialists is another reason for me to love these yellow birds! Photographed in the early morning of June 5.

male snacking on aphids (white blobs) with 4 ladybug larvae (black, black-and-orange blobs)
f/8, 1/250, 500mm, ISO 1250

The male’s song is every bit as sweet as he is an eyecatching specimen of his species. There is at least one other pair of American Goldfinches in the neighbourhood, as we saw the males spar in the fruit trees a few days ago (Goldfinches are quite territorial with each other when it comes to breeding ground ownership. Ironically, they have no problems sharing with finches of other species). Photographed in the afternoon of June 7.

American Goldfinch
he’s purposely giving me an opportunity to capture that awesome plumage of his.
f/10, 1/180, 500mm, ISO 400, diffused flash

What really surprised me, given the American Goldfinch’s legendary skittishness, is how close this pair has let us come to them. Even more peculiar is when they will ‘woo the lens’ by deliberately flying in to perch on a branch close to us. They have become a regular sight, coming early morning, midday, and evening for their meals and refreshments.



29 thoughts on “American Goldfinches

    • they are very entertaining, indeed! the male accompanies the female everywhere she goes, like a honor guard. she has been gathering string and other nesting materials for 2 weeks now. I hope they build the nursery in the backyard! hard to believe that this pair has been here for just a week. it seems like they have always been here! 🙂


    • the only thing better than a pair of American Goldfinches is more pairs of Goldfinches! I bet you have no problem attracting lots of them! 🙂

      I love how the male sings before they show up! it’s like a pre-announcement of sorts … like “we’re coming!” although he dutifully follows her everywhere, he always gives her her space … she gets a bit cranky when he gets a little too close to whatever she’s doing! 😀 😀 😀

      I was singing to him today and he sang right back to me at one of the feeding stations. I wonder if that made the female a wee bit jealous! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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