Where Do Yellow Finches Nest?


Yellow finches, also known as American goldfinches, usually build their nests in shrubs or saplings in open settings rather than in forest interiors.

They prefer to nest in tall trees or bushes near the edge of their habitat.

The nest is often built high in a shrub, where two or three vertical branches join, usually shaded by clusters of leaves or needles from above, but often open and visible from below.

They lay light blue eggs and incubate them for 12 to 14 days.

To attract yellow finches to your yard, plant shrubs and trees with plenty of vertical branches for nesting and add a birdbath for drinking and bathing.

Are there any specific types of shrubs or saplings that yellow finches prefer to nest in?

Yes, there are specific types of shrubs and saplings that yellow finches prefer to nest in.

According to, , and, American Goldfinches, a type of yellow finch, usually nest in deciduous shrubs or trees, sometimes in conifers or dense weeds, usually less than 30 feet above the ground and placed in horizontal or upright branches.

When planting, it is recommended to look for native plants like field thistle, Flogman’s thistle, and wavyleaf thistle, while also checking to assure the variety isn’t a nuisance in your area.

Additionally, according to, lesser goldfinches will consume buds of alders, cottonwoods, oaks, sycamores, and willows as well as fruits from elderberry, coffeeberry, and madrone.

Do yellow finches build new nests every year or do they reuse old nests?

Yellow finches, also known as American goldfinches, do not typically reuse their nests from season to season.

However, they may return to the same territory to build a new nest.

Other birds may use the old nest if it is not being used by the goldfinches.

It is common for many bird species to reuse their nests each year, but some birds like woodpeckers make a new nest each year and use it only once.

How do yellow finches choose their nesting sites?

Yellow finches, also known as American goldfinches, choose their nesting sites in open habitats with scattered shrubs and trees.

The breeding pair works together to select a suitable nesting site, which is usually near the edge of their habitat in a tall tree or bush.

The female builds the nest, which is usually placed in a shrub or sapling in a fairly open setting rather than within woods.

The nest is often placed where 2-3 vertical branches join to offer support.

What are some other ways to attract yellow finches to your yard besides planting shrubs and trees?

There are several ways to attract yellow finches to your yard besides planting shrubs and trees.

Some suggestions include:

  • Planting seed-bearing plants such as asters, coneflowers, sunflowers, thistles, and other flowers
  • Focusing on the habitat in your yard by providing natural vegetation and weedy plants
  • Providing a bird feeder with nyjer or thistle seed
  • Offering a water source such as a bird bath or fountain
  • Avoiding the use of pesticides and chemicals in your yard

Do yellow finches migrate to different locations for nesting or do they stay in the same area year-round?

There seems to be some variation in whether American Goldfinches, also known as yellow finches, migrate or stay in one place.

According to Audubon, they are irregular in migration, with some remaining in the North in winters with good food supply, while others linger south of their nesting range to late spring or early summer.

What Birds Are in My Backyard states that American Goldfinches do migrate north and south, so their abundance varies throughout the year.

Bird Fact explains that some American Goldfinches migrate while others choose to stay in one place and are therefore non-migratory.

All About Birds notes that American Goldfinches are most abundant in areas with thistle plants and near feeders.

Animals Mom reports that yellow finches remain year-round in more temperate climates, such as the Pacific Northwest and midwestern United States.