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Photo © Keith Williams
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Featured species: American Goldfinch

While nesting season for most birds is winding down, this is a great time to monitor American Goldfinch nests. These birds, found throughout much of the northern and eastern U.S., don’t begin breeding until late June with peak nesting occurring in late July and early August. This delayed nesting ensures that the fluffy down of milkweed, thistle, and other plants, which goldfinches use to build their nests, is readily available. Goldfinches are also strict vegetarians, so nesting later in the summer ensures that there are plenty of seeds available to feed their hungry nestlings. You can find American Goldfinch nests in shrubby, open areas with tall grass. Their cup nests, measuring about 3 inches across and 3-4 inches high, are usually lashed among several twigs in a shrub or small tree, and can be positioned from just above the ground to several meters high. The fibers of the nest are woven so tightly that the nest bowl can hold water.

American Goldfinches lay 2-7 eggs per nest. Their eggs hatch after 2 weeks of incubation, and nestlings will be ready to be on their own in about another 12 days. There are only 10 American Goldfinch nests in the NestWatch database–please help us add to this total. Read more about American Goldfinches on the NestWatch Focal Species page and on the All About Birds species profile.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology