How to Attract American Goldfinch

How to attract American Goldfinch

Be aware that habitat type more than any other factor, will in most cases, dictate the species of bird that visit your property. 

Description: One of the most popular, recognizable, and easy to attract birds in the United States, the American Goldfinch is found most frequently in weedy fields and backyards that are full of their favorite seed bearing flowers, such as native Thistle, Aster, Sunflower, and Coneflower.  During breeding season the male American Goldfinch is bright yellow, with a black cap and black and white streaked wings. The female is a dull yellow with black and white streaked wings. Besides planting and maintaining their favorite native flowers, an excellent way to entice an American Goldfinch to come visit your yard is to provide bird seed. American Goldfinch savor Nyjer seed and will also eat hulled sunflower seed. They prefer hanging tube feeders but are not particular about feeder type and will even eat off the ground. Additionally, planting or at least being able to identify trees increases your chances of spotting an American Goldfinch, since they favor Alder, Birch, Elm, Maple and Evergreens (for seeds and winter cover). American Goldfinches are not known to use nesting boxes but providing them with the resources they use to make their nests may encourage a breeding a pair to use your yard for breeding. Traces of Thistle, Milkweed, Dandelion, and Cattails are often found in American Goldfinch nests. The nests are often found high in shrubs or small trees. American Goldfinch use birdbaths.



  • Small sized bird

  • Male: bright yellow, black cap, with black and white streaked wings

  • Female: dull yellow with black and white streaked wings

  • Non-Breeding: very dull yellow-gray


  • Overgrown Fields

  • Backyards

  • Open Woodland

Eating Habits:

  • Seed-Bearing Plants (Favor: Thistle, Sunflower, Aster)

  • Seeds from Bird Feeder (Favor Nyjer Seed)

  • Small Berries at times in winter


  • High up in Shrub or Small Tree

Top Ways to Attract American Goldfinch

Field Thistle     Sunflower     Aster     Nyjer Seed    Hanging Tube Feeder

Trees & Shrubs that Attract American Goldfinch

American Elderberry (Nesting)     American Sycamore (Seeds)     Birch (Seeds)    Eastern Hemlock (Seeds)     Elm (Seeds)     Hornbeam (Nesting)     Maple (Nesting)     Red-Twig Dogwood (Nesting)     Sumac (Fruit)     Tulip-Poplar (Seeds)

Flowers & Vines that Attract American Goldfinch

Aster (Seeds)     Black-Eyed Susan (Seeds)    Blazing Star (Seeds)     Field Thistle (Seeds)     Goldenrod (Seeds)      Ironweed (Seeds)     Joe Pye Weed (Seeds)               Purple Coneflower (Seeds)       Red Columbine (Seeds)     Sunflower (Seeds)

Attracting American Goldfinch at the Bird Feeder

Feeder Type:     Hanging Tube     Hopper     Platform     Ground

Feed:     Hulled Sunflower     Nyjer Seed    Millet