Willow Goldfinch Is The Official State Bird Of Washington. The Willow Goldfinch is a delicate little bird with a yellow body and black wings, and although it eventually became the official state bird in 1951, many other birds were considered for the title. In 1928, legislators let school children select the Washington State Bird and the meadowlark won hands-down. The willow goldfinch is between 4.3 and 5.5 inches long and has a wingspan of about 7.5 inches. The bird has a small pink conical beak that turns bright orange during the spring molt. The male State Bird Of Washington is bright yellow, with a white rump visible during flight, while the female is primarily brown in color.
Young willow goldfinch has a dull brown back and a pale yellow underside. After a complete molt in the fall, the State Bird Of Washington grows plumage that is almost identical in color for both sexes. They are buff-colored below and olive-brown above. Their wings are black with white wing bars, and the black tail is etched with white. The face and neck are pale yellows, only a hint of the bright yellow of summer. During their first autumn and winter, the juveniles are wood brown above with buffy, rather than white, wing markings and dull black shoulders, which distinguish them from the adults. The Washington State Bird Willow Goldfinch is found throughout the United States. It is a short-distance migrant, as the northern population moves south during the winter. In the 1930s, the goldfinch was unsuccessfully introduced in Tahiti and Bermuda. The yellow goldfinch maintains a close relationship with humans, as the bird can be found in backyards and gardens, where they feed on bee balm, thistle, and zinnias.
Fact About Eastern Goldfinch:
- The Willow Goldfinch changes from winter plumage to breeding plumage by a complete molt of its body feathers. It is the only member of its family to have this second molt in the spring; all the other species have just one molt each year in the fall.
- The Willow Goldfinch is one of the latest nesting birds. It usually does not start until late June or early July, when most other songbirds are finishing with breeding. The late timing may be related to the availability of suitable nesting materials and seeds for feeding young.
- The Willow Goldfinch is gregarious throughout the year. In winter The Willow Goldfinch is found almost exclusively in flocks. Whether it maintains breeding territories is debatable.