A2Z 2021 – Birds – Goldfinch

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.
Photo from Pennington

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.

Photo from Pennington

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

Reflections

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.

Photo from Pennington

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
Photo from The Spruce

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Halbarbera says:

    Excellent article: A goldfinch in our lives could be a sign of good luck and fortunate opportunities coming our way. They can also be a reminder to enjoy life more and be happy for the fact we have a life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you! I appreciate your sentiments full of gratitude. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje says:

    These are such pretty birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      🙂 A pop of yellow brings so much joy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        Yes, for sure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. V.J. Knutson says:

    I’m watching the goldfinches at our feeder as I read these – definitely messengers of joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      So fortunate to have them nearby!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. msjadeli says:

    We have them here in MI. I had no idea that the color of the plumage reversed for them. So interesting. They like to talk to each other and it sounds so beautiful to hear their language.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tarkabarka says:

    I am very happy too that spring is here! There is sunshine and birdsong. And lovely yellow birds. I love yellow birds 🙂

    The Multicolored Diary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Yellow is one of my favorite colors! I cherish the wonderful light of yellow birds too. 🙂

      Like

  6. Nisha says:

    It was a lovely read , love these pretty birds and wonderful to know all the details.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, Nisha! I hope you have the chance to enjoy the beautiful birds today. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely informative post. I’m always delighted when I spot a goldfinch. I see them most often during the autumn when they flock to a neighbor’s tiny field of sunflowers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      Thank you Deborah! That sounds like a wonderful sight! I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed one before. Thanks for sharing that! 🙂

      Like

  8. Anne Nydam says:

    Goldfinches are indeed birds to make the heart rejoice, and I love your quotation from Thich Nhat Hahn.
    Black and White: G for Gont

    Like

  9. I don’t know if I ever lived anywhere where there was goldfinch, if I did, I might not have paid attention. If the birds only knew how much attention and meaning we humans give to them! I like very much the positive and joyful associations linked to the goldfinch, and the idea not to shine all the time, but step back regularly. Inspiring post about a beautiful little bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Lovely post…I often see animals in nature and feel compelled to read all about their spirit animal meanings and their symbolism among different cultures.

    I love the part about we all have our own time to shine and must then go inward and have time to retreat and recover and allow others to shine. 🥰

    Like

  11. Beth Lapin says:

    I love seeing them at my winter feeder…and love the quote from Thay..one of my faavorites..

    Beth
    https://bethlapinsatozblog.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. theresaly520 says:

      You are so fortunate to see them up close, Beth! At this point, I feel like I live vicariously through other bloggers as they take pics of their birds. 🙂 I love Thay’s work. I have this one book that I so enjoy!

      Like

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