Skip to Content

Yellow Finch

Facts About The Yellow Finch

The yellow finch, also called the American goldfinch, is among the easiest species of bird to spot. The males typically have vibrant yellow bodies accentuated with a spot of black on the head and black and white-tipped wings. The females are similarly colored, however their shade of yellow isn’t as pure or bright as the males. In the winter, both the male and females’ feathers take on a less bright hue. The yellow finch is a very coveted bird in North America. In fact, many people attempt to entice this species into their yard by filling bird feeders with the finch’s favorite treats. Let’s take a closer look at the life of a yellow finch and how you can lure this colorful bird into your own yard!


The goldfinch generally hangs around open spaces, like fields, meadows, gardens, and near fruit trees. They may also be found in woodlands as an alternative habitat. Goldfinches can be found year round across the majority of central United States. The northernmost states and most of Canada are home to goldfinches during the summer months, and the very southernmost states harbor finches during the winter. Deforestation has been devastating for many species of bird, however it has actually been quite beneficial for the goldfinch, which can find it difficult to compete against migrating birds for food and shelter. Finches can most often be found near residential areas where they can feast on the yummy offerings from bird feeders.


Most goldfinches prefer to stick together in flocks. In most cases the flock sizes tend to be quite large except for breeding season, when the flock size decreases significantly as males and females leave to mate and build a nest. The yellow finch is normally very unaggressive in nature. In fact, they are not even aggressive towards predators such as snakes, squirrels, cats, and hawks. The goldfinch will, however, become more aggressive during the period in which a male and female are preparing a nest and the eggs are due to be laid. During this time, both the male and female can exhibit an aggressive attitude towards any other birds which encroach on their space. After the eggs have been laid, the finches’ attitude will return to normal.


For the most part, the goldfinch’s diet consists largely of grains. They will eat the seeds of weeds and grasses, as well as flowers. Some of the most favored seeds include that of thistles, ragweed, dandelion, sunflowers, and goatsbeard. Occasionally the goldfinch will eat berries and the sap from maple trees. The adult will eat the occasional insect once in a while, but they will feed insects to their babies, which need the extra protein in order to grow strong.

Bringing Yellow Finches into the Yard

There are two things you need in order to invite these colorful birds into your yard or garden: a yellow finch bird feeder and a bird bath. This species of finch is, as mentioned earlier, extremely unaggressive for the most part and they simply won’t compete for food at a feeder which many other species of bird frequent. If you are set on having goldfinches in your yard, then you should try to purchase a feeder specifically meant for this type of bird. These feeders are generally long and tubular in shape and will have a perch or mesh material for the birds to cling onto. In the diet portion of this article we mentioned that finches are mainly grain feeders. The best grain to put in your finch feeder without having to worry about too many other birds would be thistle seeds, sometimes called niger seeds. They also love sunflower seeds and millet, but so do many other birds! Simply fill up the bird feeder and hang it about five feet from the ground. If you have other bird feeders in the yard, try to keep the goldfinch feeder at least 12 feet away from the other feeders.

Related Resources: