Finches are easily attracted to feeders. House finches go for sunflower seeds and Goldfinches are nuts about thistle (niger) seed. House finches have increased in population in the last few years and are becoming common in most places year round. The Purple Finch is similar to the House Finch in all characteristics but the male purple finch lacks the brown steaks on his belly. Female Purple Finch has a distinctive face pattern with a lighter brown streak above and below the eye. Purple Finches are not as common as House Finches.
Goldfinches will be extremely numerous during their migration periods in early winter and early spring. Male American Goldfinches are easily distinguished from the female in the summer -- the male is brilliant yellow. In winter it is not so easy to tell the difference. We have guessed at the gender of the two at upper right but really are not certain (we are still studying on it [smile]). The male is easily distinguished from the female in summer (photo bottom right).
Range: Current American Goldfinch range information is at USGS Patuxent Bird Identification Center
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