Local Wildlife

American Goldfinch

Picture of American Goldfinch
Scientific Name: Carduelis tristis
Audio: Listen Now
Audio Source: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
More Info: Univ. of Michigan

The brightly colored american goldfinch is most easily recognized by it's vivid yellow back, head, and chest. It sports a black "cap" and black wings and tail with white markings. The female has mostly tan and off-white coloring, though her head retains a subdued version of the yellow coloring found on the male.

The goldfinch prefers weedy fields and flood plains in which to live and breed. As a result, you are most likely to see them in and near the various grassy meadows that make up much of the western part of Sunriver between the Deschutes river, Lake Aspen, and the Sunriver Resort lodge. In addition, they are quite sociable so where one is seen, there are often others.

Because they generally feed during the daytime, these birds are easy to spot on the fenceposts or in the small trees and large shrubs found along the paths by the airport and marina. Their primary diet consists of seeds from various plants, trees, weeds, and grasses found in their chosen habitat. They may also eat small insects in limited quantities.

In late June or early July, the female goldfinch builds a nest out of rootlets, plant fibers, and plant "down" in a small shrub. For stability, the nest is lashed to its supporting branches with spider's silk. Once built, the female then lays her eggs and will incubate them for 12 to 14 days until they hatch. During this time she is fed by the male. The young grow quickly and take their first flight about two weeks after they hatch.