What Do Goldfinches Sound Like Song & Sounds

The American Goldfinch (aka Spinus tristis) song offers a harmonious series of crisp warbles and twitters with many clear liquid notes that last a few seconds. Their mating call lasts a few seconds and comprises a series of seemingly random notes. Their contact po-ta-to-chip contact call is the most common.

Did you know that Goldfinches don’t just stick to one song pattern? Throughout their life, they continue to grow their song vocabulary to create complex songs of twitters and warbles. Let’s break down these unique calls, what they mean, and what they sound like.

What Sounds Does the Goldfinch Make?

The American Goldfinch calls are divided into songs, contact calls, and alarm calls. They use these methods of communication to attract a mate, communicate with each other while feeding or nest building, or warn nearby birds of a predator. Their bright and cheery songs are often heard in late summer to early fall, while alarm calls and contact calls are listened to year-round.

Typical Goldfinch Song

The Goldfinch Song is sung only by males during the breeding season and comprises a series of crisp liquid chirps and warbles that last only a few seconds. Their mating calls utilize trills, chirps, and warbles that sound similar to that of a Warbler, Grosbeak. Unlike other North American songbirds, the breeding season for Goldfinches does not start in early spring.

Goldfinches make their nest from soft materials from soft thistle weed, which doesn’t come into bloom until late June through September. Unlike sparrows or house finches, goldfinches breed well into the summer, which means you often hear their mating calls well into late summer.

Contact Call

The po-ta-to-chip contact call is the most common call of the American Goldfinch. It has a very even and measured cadence. Their contact call is a way for other goldfinches to communicate with each other. Since goldfinches travel in small family flocks during the breeding season (and larger communities in the off-season), their unique contact call is among the most common of goldfinch calls.

It’s also important to note that their po-ta-to-chip call is also used as their flight call. When a bright yellow goldfinch flies from one feeding location to the next, they use its contact call while flying to communicate with other flock members.

Alarm Call

When a Goldfinch feels threatened, it emits a high-pitched bay-bee call to alarm nearby goldfinches of danger. Nesting parents often hear these bird sounds when they think their nestlings are threatened. Common predators of the American goldfinch include blue jays, weasels, garter snakes, and cats.

Luckily, goldfinches don’t often fall prey to the parasitic cowbird. While cowbirds sometimes lay eggs in the nests of goldfinches, their eggs won’t survive. Goldfinches are strict vegetarians, and the diet of seeds and thistle doesn’t supply young cowbirds with enough nutrition to survive.

goldfinch sounds

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Hear A Goldfinch?

The best time to hear the goldfinch mating call is in late summer to early fall. If you want to listen to the mating call of this beautiful bird, you need to wait until later in the season. While other North American birds like the chickadee, blackbird, thrush, and pine Siskin breed early in the spring, the American goldfinch isn’t in a hurry.

Goldfinches are serious vegetarians and live on a diet primarily of thistle and seeds, so they prefer to wait until summer fully blooms before raising young birds. This means that the mating rituals of male Goldfinches don’t start until late June or early July, with some raising their only brood in early September.

yellow goldfinch

How Can I Attract Goldfinches To My Backyard?

If you want to draw in these birdsongs, be sure to stock your backyard with all of their favorite food and provide plenty of water sources. The best bird feeder for goldfinches are hanging tube feeders or thistle socks. They also prefer feeders that are brightly colored, so opting for a bright yellow tube feeder is a great way to attract goldfinches to your backyard.

It’s also important to note that while goldfinches migrate, they often stay in habitats where the temperatures don’t dip under 0 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to enjoy the contact calls of the American goldfinch well into the winter months (if you reside in an area where they stick around for the winter), be sure to keep your feeders full, clean, and stocked with plenty of thistles!

Tara Summerville

Tara Summerville is a freelance writer that loves her backyard birdfeeders. She enjoys sitting on her deck with a cup of coffee, watching cardinals, blue jays, finches, and chickadees munch away at her backyard offerings. Her fascination with birds began as a child; spending afternoons at her grandma's house watching and identifying birds. She has since carried her love of songbirds into adulthood and ensures no bird in her yard goes hungry!

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