Featured Image by Michael Murphy
- Physical Description: The goldfinch is a small, stubby bird measuring about 4.5 inches long, with a wingspan of approximately 8 inches and a weight of roughly .5 ounce. The bird’s plumage is mostly bright yellow, and it has a black blaze above the beak, black wing edges touched with white, and a white rump. The female is a duller color in the summer, but in the winter the male dulls whereas the female brightens slightly.
- Geographic Distribution: The American goldfinch is found across southern Canada in the summer, in the northern United States year round, and in the southern United States and eastern Mexico in the winter. The European goldfinch is found across Europe, North Africa and western and central Asia. It has been introduced to other areas, including Australia, New Zealand and Uruguay.
- Environment: The goldfinch’s preferred environments include meadows, fields, open woodland, and floodplains. This bird is very comfortable in cultivated and urban residential areas.
Myths, Folklore, and Cultural Associations
The word carduelis in the European goldfinch’s name (Carduelis carduelis) means “thistle-eating,” and goldfinches love weeds such as thistles, particularly milkweed and other plants that produce flossy or fluffy seed heads. The goldfinch eats the seeds of these plants and uses the silky fluff of the plant to line and weave into its nest. The European goldfinch was sometimes called “thistle-finch:, and this bird is the distelfink seen in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art and lore. The distelfink represents happiness and good fortune to this community.
The gold color of this bird connects it with wealth. If the first bird a girl saw on Valentine’s Day was a goldfinch, she would marry a wealthy man. The goldfinch was also believed to be a symbol of protection against the plague in medieval times.
The American goldfinch, or eastern goldfinch, is the state bird of Iowa, New Jersey, and Washington. Goldfinches are sometimes casually referred to as ” wild canaries”.
The collective noun for a group of goldfinches is a “charm,” which is a lovely word suggesting the bird’s association with luck, health, joy and love.
Omens and Divinatory Meaning
Yellow is a color of joy, cheer, and health. Seeing a goldfinch can be a boost to your general well-being. It may also be a sign to consciously introduce more joy into your life by engaging in what you love to do more than you are currently doing.
The male goldfinch’s bright colors fade after the summer and become a more subdued olive brown, whereas the female’s plumage brightens in the fall. This can be a reminder that you can choose your season to shine. Not everyone can be in the spotlight all the time; it can be draining and unhealthy. But by choosing your time carefully, you can make a significant impact. Just remember that in order to balance that season of shining, you need to retreat again and allow others their time in the light as well.
Associated energies: Joy, happiness, health, abundance, prosperity
Associated seasons: Summer
Element association: Air
Color associations: Yellow, black, brown
REFERENCE: Birds, a Spiritual Field Guide, Explore the Symbology & Significance of These Divine Winged Messengers by Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Every time I hear Goldfinch, I think of Crushed Caramel’s love for a wonderful man. Crushed Caramel is a bright and beautiful blogger here in the blogosphere sharing inspirational posts on love and life.
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.“Eleonora Duse
It’s National Walking Day! The other day I took a afternoon walk at this national historical site I frequently visit, and I was overwhelmed with such a joyous feeling deep in my heart. The blue skies were vibrant. The sun was shining. The grass was growing. I was so appreciative of this gorgeous day. It could be the fact that my state is no longer a frozen, bleak landscape. I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. I felt free. The fact that I was cooped up for the majority of last year while death and discord surrounded me was suffocating. I didn’t realize how it impacted my ability to do A2Z last year. I’m just so grateful for the littlest of things. I’m grateful to see and visit my loved ones more often.
“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life