Better late than never with goldfinch nests

Object of the Month: 08/2013

What is it?:

American Goldfinch


Washington County, Minnesota, 2003

Age: Found in 2003 by Alice Aamont

4.8 inches long, 8.8 inches wing span


0.5 ounces

Accession #: Z 2003:1:38

American Goldfinch
Carduelis tristis

Unlike most songbirds in Minnesota, the American Goldfinch nests primarily in August—after most other birds have completed their nesting—due to the availability of its primary nestling foods, the seeds of thistle plants and some insects.

Plumes from thistles make up much of the nest construction and nests are often located in thistle plants.

After nesting, males molt into a dull-colored plumage similar to females. Flocks assemble in the fall and winter to locate and forage in any direction where food sources can be found. We can help them by filling our bird feeders with thistle, sunflower seeds or seeds of certain trees, shrubs or weeds.

Click here to hear recordings of calls and songs of American Goldfinches.

Click here to watch videos of goldfinches in natural settings.

Click here to learn more information about these interesting birds.

Share your thoughts

Here's your chance to be a museum label writer. Use the form below to write your own description of this bird. Be creative and share what you think is really important about this bird that other people should know? Just don't write "I think it's cool!"

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

minnesota's picture
minnesota says:

I love to bird watch now i am enspired. ps my name is really the state you r in

posted on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 11:42am
Maya B's picture
Maya B says:

I have seen this bird. I want to lean more to. I love its colors to.

posted on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 11:44am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

vibrant black and yellow bird!!!!!

posted on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 12:02pm
meghan's picture
meghan says:

This bird is very colorful! It is a very beautiful bird, and because of the black wings... it really makes it's chest stand out!

posted on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 12:56pm
the rndom guy  's picture
the rndom guy says:

This bid looks like chese. I like cheese

posted on Thu, 08/01/2013 - 2:07pm
Ryley's picture
Ryley says:

I like the birds vibrant colors. I also like its eyes. I would like to learn more about it. (P.S. it looks like cheese.)

posted on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 1:38pm
Cassie Brianna's picture
Cassie Brianna says:

Lol, it looks like cheese? Great explination....ha!

posted on Tue, 08/06/2013 - 1:52pm
ROADRUNNER hehehehe's picture
ROADRUNNER hehehehe says:

Hi! My mom is obsessed with birds so like yay!

posted on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 3:30pm
#awsumnss's picture
#awsumnss says:

These can b found most anywhere in this part of the country.

(I like cheese)

posted on Sat, 08/03/2013 - 6:03pm
Auntvhan Britva's picture
Auntvhan Britva says:

The American Goldfinch is a small yellow bird with black wings covered in white splotches.Apart from the physical description, the goldfinch nests mainly in August. This is a primary nesting time, due to the availibility of food and other essential resourses.

posted on Sun, 08/04/2013 - 1:43pm
caise   's picture
caise says:

Having fun in the sun chirpety chirp chirp!

posted on Thu, 08/08/2013 - 2:43pm
Brian and Jean's picture
Brian and Jean says:

It's feathers ae varitions of yellow. And I think they are cool!!!! ha

posted on Sat, 08/10/2013 - 2:56pm
maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!'s picture
maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan! says:

i think goldfinches are really brightly colored, and, yes,randomguy,they do look like cheese....

posted on Sun, 08/11/2013 - 12:47pm
abbi likes crackers's picture
abbi likes crackers says:

my cat caught this bird

posted on Sun, 08/11/2013 - 2:07pm
hannah and noah's picture
hannah and noah says:

my cat almost caught one but my friend and i coaght her and saved the bird

posted on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 12:47pm
Banana's picture
Banana says:

Banana on a stick

posted on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 2:29pm
myles's picture
myles says:

it has yellow feathers

posted on Thu, 08/15/2013 - 11:27am
bobbyjoe co's picture
bobbyjoe co says:

what do birds eat

posted on Thu, 08/15/2013 - 3:07pm
Catluvr99   's picture
Catluvr99 says:

What do these birds eat

posted on Sat, 08/17/2013 - 10:28am
brenden's picture
brenden says:

gold finches are great colored birds

posted on Sat, 08/17/2013 - 1:16pm
olivia's picture
olivia says:

i wunder what birds eat.

posted on Sun, 08/18/2013 - 11:49am
shruti's picture
shruti says:

the goldflinch is so gold-a-ful

posted on Sun, 08/18/2013 - 2:25pm
lee100's picture
lee100 says:

teh blrd is creepy

posted on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 12:53pm
hailey's picture
hailey says:

brids eat worms

posted on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 12:59pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 2:13pm
Austin's picture
Austin says:

why did you kill a bird?

posted on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 3:06pm
Thor's picture
Thor says:

It's likely this bird crashed into a window and died. A volunteer from the museum brought this specimen here after finding it dead near her home.

posted on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 3:45pm
ellie's picture
ellie says:


posted on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 4:41pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 11:44am
ellie's picture
ellie says:

i love goldfinches. i saw one today!

posted on Fri, 08/23/2013 - 4:40pm
lola's picture
lola says:

pretty bird

posted on Sat, 08/24/2013 - 9:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

never keep goldfinchs as pets!

posted on Sun, 08/25/2013 - 1:42pm
braces are torture's picture
braces are torture says:

I love this kind of bird iit is now one of my fav song birds

posted on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 1:01pm
alice's picture
alice says:

golden glory

posted on Mon, 09/02/2013 - 4:00pm
oliver 's picture
oliver says:

sharp beak

posted on Sun, 09/15/2013 - 11:08am
lexi's picture
lexi says:

it has a beautiful yellow color

posted on Sun, 09/29/2013 - 1:07pm
lexi's picture
lexi says:

it has sharp claws

posted on Sun, 09/29/2013 - 1:08pm

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