Do American Goldfinches Migrate?

May 5, 2023 // 11 minutes read // 2 Shares

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Do American Goldfinches Migrate?

Are you trying to learn more about the migratory patterns of the American Goldfinch? Discovering this information doesn’t need to be a difficult task by any means. I’ll share migration habits and patterns, plus other valuable information below.

The American Goldfinch’s migration range starts in mid-Alberta in Canada and runs to North Carolina during the breeding season. In the winter, the migratory pattern runs from the southernmost part of Canada to the northern United States border, and they’ll migrate to northern Mexico during the frigid cold months.

To find out more information about American goldfinches and their migratory patterns, as well as other important info as well, you should continue reading this article. I’ll cover the following topics in greater detail:

  • When American Goldfinches migrate
  • Where American Goldfinches live during the summer
  • Where American Goldfinches live during the winter
  • Do all American Goldfinches migrate yearly
  • and other interesting topics

To discover the absolute truth about these pressing topics and much more, please keep reading to learn the score.

Migration Madness: When Will American Goldfinches Migrate During The Year?

According to, “The peak migration period for the American Goldfinch typically occurs in mid-fall and early spring. However, some will remain south of their nesting range as late as early summer.”

Many experts believe that migrating during these times of the year is very late, according to standards for the majority of migratory birds. In fact, due to the late migration patterns, which lead into nesting season late in the summer, it’s possible the American Goldfinch migrates at this time because it assures that a massive supply of late-summer seeds is available for feeding youngsters.

Location, Location, Location: Where Do American Goldfinches Live in the Summer?

american goldfinch perched in tree
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The American Goldfinch is a migratory bird that tends to migrate to the South during the winter. When the breeding season starts up again in the spring and summer, these birds will move in a northerly direction. Certain American goldfinches may never migrate, depending on the region that they happen to live in.

During the summer, the American Goldfinch tends to live in the northernmost states of the United States and the southern and central parts of Canada. You can find them in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana in the US.

Northeastern United States in the Summer

The American Goldfinch definitely resides in the northeastern United States during the summertime. More often than not, you’ll find common American goldfinches in summer residences in the following states:

They also tend to spend time in the forested parts of the Northeast in the summer but to a lesser degree. You may or may not find American goldfinches in the following states during the summertime:

Be found in towns if you were to discover these birds in any of these states, they’ll typically be found on roads in towns on the outskirts of these forested areas.

Southeastern United States in the Summer

In the southeastern portion of the United States, the breeding range of the American Goldfinch tends to remain located along the southern edge. You’ll discover these goldfinches in the northern areas of the following states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Georgia
  4. Mississippi 

On the other hand, it’s rare but not impossible to find them along the coast in states including:

Even less common, but not impossible, you may find some American goldfinches in northern Kentucky and Western West Virginia.

Midwest United States In the Summer

Throughout the Midwest, it’s very common to find American Goldfinches. The most common states to discover these gorgeous golden birds include:

It’s also certainly possible to see these birds in northern Minnesota and northern Michigan as well, but it is a less common occurrence to find them in other parts of the Midwest.

Goldfinches are also scattered throughout parts of North Dakota. You can even find them less commonly in Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota as well.

Rocky Mountains Region in the US in the Summer

In the Rocky Mountains region in the United States, it’s certainly possible to find American goldfinches living here during the summertime. Most frequently, you’ll find them at the lower elevations of the mountain near water sources.

Their regular stomping grounds include:

But that’s not all, because it’s also possible to find these birds in Denver, Colorado, and Salt Lake City, Utah, but it’s almost impossible to find them in any significant number in Nevada.

Southwestern United States in the Summer

According to, “

American Goldfinches reached the southern edge of their breeding range in the Santa Fe, New Mexico and Tulsa, Oklahoma areas. Otherwise, these finches are rare to absent in summer in these states and Arizona and Texas.

So, you’ll find it nearly impossible to see American goldfinches in Texas and Arizona during the summertime. And they rarely spend time in Oklahoma and New Mexico, with the exception of Tulsa and Santa Fe during the breeding season.

Pacific Region of the US This Summer

It’s common to find American goldfinches in Oregon and Washington in the Pacific region of the United States. 

In California, you’ll also find American Goldfinches all year round because a non-migratory population of these birds lives here permanently. They typically stick to the southern deserts and Sierra Nevada mountains.

Have you ever wondered about migratory vs. resident birds?

Find out why some stick around during the winter and why some head for warmer weather! Click the button below!

American Goldfinches in Canada in the Summer

During the breeding season, American goldfinches will make their way across southern Canada. They can be found in southern parts of Canada, including:

  1. Alberta
  2. British Columbia
  3. Manitoba
  4. Ontario
  5. Québec
  6. Saskatchewan

It’s also quite common to find these birds in plentiful supply in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island as well.

American Goldfinches Summertime Locations

Regional LocationUS State or Canadian Territory
Northeastern United StatesConnecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont
Southeastern United StatesAlabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina
Midwestern United StatesIllinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Rocky Mountain Region in the USDenver, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming
Southwestern United StatesNew Mexico and Oklahoma, rarely in Arizona and Texas
Pacific Region of the USCalifornia (non-migratory), Oregon, and Washington
CanadaAlberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Québec, and Saskatchewan

Winter Wonderland: Where Do American Goldfinches Live in the Winter?

american goldfinch at bird feeder
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During the wintertime, it’s easy to find the American Goldfinch spread out through many parts of the United States. Besides the US, this golden bird also likes to make its home in parts of northern Mexico and southern Canada.

Generally speaking, goldfinches tend to leave Canada during the wintertime, but you will find some that remain in the southern coastal regions, including southern British Columbia, Manitoba, Toronto, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

In the United States, you’ll find many American goldfinches in the northeastern part of the country during the winter. More particularly, you’ll find them in northern Maine and Pennsylvania.

They are also found in abundant supply in the southeast, across Appalachia, the Midwest, the West Coast, and the Southwest desert. It’s less common to find these winter birds in the Rocky Mountains, Nebraska, or the Dakotas.

They also spent time in Mexico during the winter. But sightings happen sporadically, and they generally remain in the northernmost parts of Mexico.

Northeastern United States in the Winter

In the northeastern US, it shouldn’t be difficult to spot winter American goldfinches in the following states:

  1. Connecticut
  2. Maine
  3. New Hampshire
  4. New York
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Vermont

Southeastern United States in the Winter

In the southeastern United States, it’s definitely possible to find a plentiful number of winter American goldfinches spending time here during the winter. They can be found in the following locations:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Midwestern United States in the Winter

In the Midwestern part of the United States, it’s common to find winter American goldfinches wintering in a number of different states. They include areas like:

  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Ohio
  • Wisconsin

It’s still possible to find young birds in less common states as well, including the Western parts of Kentucky and Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Rocky Mountains Region in the US in the Winter

It’s possible but difficult to find American goldfinches in the Rocky Mount region of the United States. But they are found in the following states nonetheless:

  • Colorado (Eastern)
  • Idaho (frequently)
  • Montana (sparsely) 
  • Nevada (sparsely)
  • Utah (sparsely)
  • Wyoming (sparsely)

Southwestern United States in the Winter

You can find plenty of American goldfinches in the southwestern section of the United States. They are found in regular numbers in the following areas:

  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas

Pacific Region in the US in the Winter

In the Pacific region of the US, these gold birds are commonly found in the following states during the winter:

  • California
  • Oregon
  • Washington

American Goldfinches in Canada in the Winter

It’s also possible to find American goldfinches wintering in many different parts of Canada. They are regularly spotted in the following locations:

  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • Newfoundland
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Québec

American Goldfinches in Mexico in the Winter

And if you’re looking for American goldfinches in Mexico, it’s rare to find them, but there are a few records of spotting these birds in the following locations:

  • Ensenada, Baja California Norte
  • Monterrey, Nuevo Leone

American Goldfinches Wintertime Locations

Regional LocationUnited States, Canada & Mexican Territories
Northeastern United StatesConnecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont
Southeastern United StatesAlabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia
Midwestern United StatesIllinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin
Rocky Mount Region in the USColorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming
Southwestern United StatesArizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Pacific Region in the USCalifornia, Oregon, and Washington
CanadaBritish Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Québec
MexicoEnsenada, Baja California Norte and Monterrey, Nuevo Leone

Does Every American Goldfinch Migrate during the Year?

Yes, I can say with 100% certainty that American Goldfinches definitely migrate during the year. But what you might not realize is that certain American goldfinches stay put during the year, depending on their weather conditions and food supply during the year.

When these birds migrate, the female American Goldfinch typically flies further into the South during the wintertime when compared to the male American Goldfinch. The younger males tend to remain further in the North as opposed to an older adult male American goldfinch.

In California, the American goldfinches in this region are considered non-migratory. Why? The weather remains comfortable throughout the year, and their food supply continues to exist in abundant amounts. So, there is no need for these goldfinches to migrate during the year because their food, shelter, and weather requirements are already met.

Why Do Certain American Goldfinches Fail to Migrate During the Year?

Certain female and male goldfinch birds fail to migrate at all. When this happens, it typically seems to take place because the birds live in areas that have abundant food supplies and mild winters.

Also, homeowners like to put out bird feeders in many residential locations because they want to attract the American Goldfinch into their yards or garden. This gives these birds the ability to remain in a specific location year-round in regions where they would normally migrate in the past.

Bird feeders are an excellent way to provide these birds with an abundant and steady supply of food that would normally exist in northern climates during the colder months. This is particularly true in southern Canada and the northeastern sections of the United States.

With that said, if the temperature drops below 0°F, you’ll rarely find goldfinches wintering in locations with these freezing temperatures.

Have you ever wondered about American Goldfinch facts or general info on these creatures?

The question here is…

How much do you know about goldfinches? Click the button to learn more about these creatures!

Timing Is Everything: Migratory Pattern Timing for American Goldfinches Throughout the Year

The breeding populations of American goldfinches in the northern parts of the United States are considered migratory birds. Nevertheless, certain birds from the North do not necessarily leave their territory completely.

Why is that?

In some cases, they may only need to move a short distance to find a freshwater source and an abundant supply of food. In other cases, they may need to go longer distances to find the resources that will keep them alive.

During the spring, you’ll find many American goldfinches migrating to the North between the months of May and June. In the autumn, many of these birds will begin flying south between October to January because of the specific time of the year, temperature fluctuations, and available food and water sources.

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