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What Is the State Bird of New Jersey?

By Anna B. Smith
Updated May 17, 2024
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The state bird of New Jersey is the Eastern Goldfinch. This bird lives primarily in the northern regions of the United States, as well as in Canada. It feeds on a variety of seeds, and prefers the open spaces of wild meadows. This bird became the state bird of New Jersey in January of 1935. New Jersey became the 45th state in the United States to declare a state bird. The Eastern Goldfinch is additionally claimed by the state of Iowa.

The state bird of New Jersey is also sometimes referred to as an American Goldfinch or a Wild Canary. During mating season, the Goldfinch tends to remain in the areas between Canada and North Carolina. This season often begins in mid to late July, and coincides with the height of the bird's food season. As the weather begins to turn cold, the birds migrate south of Canada, and travel as far south as Mexico. Both the males and females of the species also darken in their colorings during this migration time period.

The male Eastern Goldfinch is typically recognizable by his bright yellow plumage, capped by black wing tips and tail that are often shot through with brilliant white streaks. He also appears to have black markings over the top of his head that extend down towards the beak. The female Eastern Goldfinch presents more muted colors than her male counterpart. Her coloring is slightly darker, appearing somewhat olive, and features brown, rather than black, wing tips and tail. The female of the species has no markings on the top of the head or around the face.

This bird feeds on a diet that consists primarily of seeds. Dandelions, thistles, ragweed, sunflowers, and evening primrose are among its most common food source choices. The conical shaped beak of the Eastern Goldfinch lends itself to breaking the hard hull of the seed to extract the sweet meat inside. The bird's small and agile claws are also uniquely designed to hold the delicate stems of these seeds while it eats. These plants are often found in the open spaces of wild meadows, where these birds are most frequently found.

The state bird of New Jersey is primarily monogamous, choosing one mate for life. These two birds can produce multiple broods over the span of their time together. Their eggs appear off white in color and present brown speckles towards the largest end of the egg. They are largely bulbous in shape and narrow to a small, rounded point at the opposite end.

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