General Description: Washington’s State Bird. Adult breeding males are bright yellow with black forehead, wings, and tail. They have one white wing-bar, and white on their tails. Non-breeding-season plumage is drab brown with hints of yellow and white wing-bars. The undertail is white at all times. Adult breeding females are yellowish-gray-brown on top. Underneath coloring varies from bright to yellow. They have two light-colored wing-bars, light-colored bills, and black tails with white outer tips. Outside the breeding season, females are all gray, with less distinct wing-bars and a darker bill.
Habitat: Found generally in brushy and weedy habitats at the edges of fields, rivers, and hedgerows, especially when thistle is present. Also found in suburban gardens, poplar plantations, orchards, and other brushy areas with deciduous trees.
Behavior: Flocking outside of breeding season. Active, nimble foragers, they are often seen hanging from seed-heads. They have an undulating flight and often give call notes on the upward strokes.
Diet: Small seeds, especially thistle. In summer, they eat some insects, especially aphids. Feed regurgitated seeds to their young.
Range in North America: Found throughout the United States.
When to See in Washington: Common from mid-April to mid-October throughout Washington’s lowlands; less common in winter. Found more frequently in winter east of the Cascades.