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What Is New Jersey’s State Bird? How Was It Decided?

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american goldfinch
Image Credit: Miles Moody, Pixabay

Reading about the state birds can be a great way to learn about some of the most interesting birds in America, and it can also help you learn more about the area where you live. Many people want to know what the state bird of New Jersey is, and it is the American Goldfinch. If that surprises you, keep reading as we investigate why the state chose this bird and when. 

hummingbird divider

When did the American Goldfinch become the New Jersey state bird?

New Jersey did not name a state bird until June 27, 1935, during the state legislator’s 159th meeting. New Jersey Statute Title 52 Section 52:9A – 1 is the official legislation naming the American Goldfinch as the state bird. Interestingly, Iowa and Washington State also consider the American Goldfinch as their state bird.

american goldfinch perching on a tree branch
Image Credit: Veronika_Andrews, Pixabay

Why is the American Goldfinch the New Jersey state bird?

Unfortunately, no reason is given in the legislation naming the American Goldfinch as the state bird for why they chose it. There’s also no mention of why in the legislative journals or local newspapers of the time, so no one can say for sure. However, many current residents stand behind the choice, stating that the bird frequents many backyards and showers listeners with happy songs. It has a bright-yellow body with black wings, which makes it easy to identify from a distance. The American Goldfinch likes to eat allergy-causing weed seeds like ragweed, so having these birds around makes life easier for allergy sufferers.

What does the American Goldfinch look like?

The male American Goldfinch has a bright-yellow body, a black patch on its forehead, and an orange beak. The wings have black feathers with white stripes, as does the tail. The females are also yellow but not as bright, and they have more brown feathers on their back and head, but it is still easy to pick them out in a flock. Both sexes are relatively small and only grow to a little over 4 inches long.

American Goldfinch
Image By: milesmoody, Pixabay

American Goldfinch behavior

A male and female American Goldfinch will mate for life and breed up to three times, producing as many as 21 children. These birds don’t begin to sing songs regularly until they are about 9 months old, but they are quite intelligent and can learn how to sing from humans if there are no other birds around. These birds have long lifespans and can often live more than 15 years in the wild.


The New Jersey state bird is the American Goldfinch, a small variety of canary with a bright-yellow color and dark wings. Though there is no official reason for its selection, many people enjoy its singing and like that it eats ragweed seeds, reducing allergy symptoms for sufferers.

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Featured Image Credit: Miles Moody, Pixabay

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.