Goldfinch in Winter by lorilee

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A female American Goldfinch in my backyard in northeast Iowa.

This handsome little finch, the state bird of Iowa, New Jersey and Washington, is welcome and common at feeders, where it takes primarily sunflower and nyjer. Goldfinches often flock with Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls. Spring males are brilliant yellow and shiny black with a bit of white. Females and all winter birds are more dull but identifiable by their conical bill; pointed, notched tail; wingbars; and lack of streaking. During molts they look bizarrely patchy.

A small finch with a short, conical bill and a small, head, long wings, and short, notched tail.

Color Pattern
Adult males in spring and early summer are bright yellow with black forehead, black wings with white markings, and white patches both above and beneath the tail. Adult females are duller yellow beneath, olive above. Winter birds are drab, unstreaked brown, with blackish wings and two pale wingbars.

These are active and acrobatic little finches that cling to weeds and seed socks, and sometimes mill about in large numbers at feeders or on the ground beneath them. Goldfinches fly with a bouncy, undulating pattern and often call in flight, drawing attention to themselves.

The goldfinch’s main natural habitats are weedy fields and floodplains, where plants such as thistles and asters are common. They’re also found in cultivated areas, roadsides, orchards, and backyards. American Goldfinches can be found at feeders any time of year, but most abundantly during winter.

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Hello! I am a wife, mother, worship leader and piano teacher. Photography is a new passion of mine. I also enjoy singing, playing the piano & flute, bicycling and the theatre! Thank you for all your kindness and support here. God bless you!

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  • Krys Bailey
    Krys Baileyabout 5 years ago

    He’s a pretty little featherball Lori! Looks a little like our Greenfinch in the UK! Nice markings and sweet capture!

  • Thank you, Krys!!!!!

    – lorilee

  • Hetty Mellink
    Hetty Mellinkabout 5 years ago

    Beautiful shot!

  • Thanks, Hetty!!!!

    – lorilee

  • Digitalbcon
    Digitalbconabout 5 years ago

    A beautiful capture Lori!! A female no doubt!! Well done!!!

  • Thank you so much, Blair!!!! Yes, it is a female – - – I should add that to my description!!! :-)

    – lorilee

  • cherylc1
    cherylc1about 5 years ago

    Gorgeous capture !!

  • Thank you, Cheryl!!!!!

    – lorilee

  • Kelly Cavanaugh
    Kelly Cavanaughabout 5 years ago

    Excellent, Lori!

  • Thanks, Kelly!!!!

    – lorilee

  • KathleenRinker
    KathleenRinkerabout 5 years ago

    Beautiful capture Lori!!

  • Thank you so much, Kathleen!!

    – lorilee

  • rasnidreamer
    rasnidreamerabout 5 years ago

    This is an absolutely gorgeous image Lori! XXSUEXX

  • Thank you, Sue!!!! You’re very kind!!

    – lorilee

  • Janie Oliver
    Janie Oliverabout 5 years ago

    very nice capture.

  • Thanks, Janie!!!!!

    – lorilee

  • Sean Farragher
    Sean Farragherabout 5 years ago


  • Thanks so much, Sean!!!

    – lorilee

  • Rick  Friedle
    Rick Friedleabout 5 years ago

    Great capture!

  • Thank you, Rick!!!!

    – lorilee

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