Gold finch : Behavior, Lifespan and Unknown Facts

Gold finch is the most common and welcomed bird in our back yards. Their sweet personality and vibrant colors make them so unique, even they are called as wild Canaries for their eye catchy plumage. These birds are classified as song birds due to their distinctive chirping. Here are some interesting facts about them.

1. Gold finch is only of 3 types, the American Lesser & Lawrence Gold finches are found in South East America, whereas the European Goldfinches are found across the Atlantic in Europe, they were also introduced in Australia and New Zealand 100 years ago.

2. Male and female goldfinches look pretty much the same, although males have a longer beak. Juveniles however, are much dull in color. They are mainly brown with some yellow markings on the wings. And they don’t have the distinctive red face, which they gain in adulthood.

male and female pair
Image By Jeff Goulden Via Audubon

3. Goldfinch’s scientific name is Carduelis carduelis. It is derived from the Latin word for thistle–Carduus, the seeds which are one of the favorite of Goldfinches.

4. They are mainly vegetarian, feeding on seeds, but in spring they also feed on small insects such as aphids.

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5. Gold finch like to build their nests on the outer twigs at the end of a branch, and they particularly prefer fruit trees for nesting.

nest of a gold finch family
Image By Damon Scott Calderwood Via

6. They can weave their nest so tightly that it will temporarily hold water. Generally spider webs are used by them to make the nests tight with tree branches. Their nests are usually found at 8-10 feet high near water source.

7. Their eggs are also colorful. They lay 5-7 pale blue or greenish blue eggs which take around 12 days to hatch.

Image By Jonathan Bowen Via The Spruce

8. To stay warm in cold winter, American Gold finch burrow under the snow to form a sleeping cavity. They also roost together in coniferous trees.

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9. These finches can’t tolerate sub zero temperatures in the winter. Study on these banded birds have revealed that some American Goldfinches do migrate more than 1,000 miles from Ontario to Louisiana.

10. Gold finch can feed upside down. Often they are observed hanging upside down from the top of a big sunflower, picking out the seeds from below. And the ability to pose upside down helps these birds as they sway on the fragile seed of grasses and other plants they love.

feeding upside down
Image Via Go Billy Bird

11. Generally these birds can live for 4-7 years depending on food supply and predators. In 2007, the oldest one ever recaptured in the wild was an American Goldfinch of 10 years and 5 months old.

12. The American Goldfinch is the only finch species that molt twice a year. First time in spring when the males get their bright yellow feathers, and the second is at the end of summer when the darker feathers appear.

13. Their names may sound similar, but the European and American Goldfinches are not closely related. As classified in separate genera, the coloring are also different making it easy to identify them separately.

14. Goldfinches can be found in a number of religious artworks from the Italian Renaissance. Because it eats thistles, the bird was associated with Christ’s crown of thorns and was referred to as a “savior” bird.

Painting By Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Via Pexels

15. Females are dominant over males in the summer and appear to be subservient to them in the winter.

16. They use a 4 syllable call when they are ready to take flight. If you listen closely, it sounds like the birds are saying “po-ta-to-chip”. Both males and females use that call identically.

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