If you long to see a bright yellow and black goldfinch, getting one or more to visit your backyard feeder is not that difficult. All you need is a bag of thistle seed.
The males are yellow with black trim and the females are an olive-toned yellow. Watch for them.
The adult birds put on a show as they gather seed from thistle and zinnias, cosmos, bee balm, liatris and coreopsis.
Goldfinches love thistle seed, also known as nyjer, and sunflower seeds. Seed makes up almost their entire diet. They will regularly visit backyard feeders and appreciate having a birdbath close by. Backyard birders see them across most of the United States and southern Canada.
They are among the latest nesting birds. In late summer, they collect thistle down to line their nests and raise four to six young, feeding them a partially digested substance called “canary milk.” Both the male and female feed the baby birds.
Goldfinches may sing “per-chick-o-ree” with each flap of their wings as they fly. In winter, they may sing “se-mee, se-mee” and other pretty twittering songs.
Image by Paul Brennan