American goldfinches are distributed across North America from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast, with migration occurring from the North to the South when the weather begins to cool in the fall. Goldfinches occur as far north as southern Canada in the summer, and as far south as northeastern Mexico in the winter.
There are four subspecies of American goldfinch whose migrations overlap. American goldfinches are considered short-distance migratory birds, with flocks gathering in the spring and fall to migrate north or south in pursuit of a greater food supply. In the spring, flocks of goldfinches from as far south as the eastern coast of Mexico migrate north to breeding grounds across the United States and Canada. The breeding range stretches from Saskatchewan in Canada, west to northern California and east to North Carolina.
After breeding and rearing chicks, flocks once again gather to migrate south in the fall. The winter range stretches across the United States from northern California to the Carolinas all way into Mexico. Goldfinches appear to prefer areas where the average January temperature does fall below zero degrees Fahrenheit. The central United States hosts American goldfinches year round, with birds routinely spotted at bird feeders in the winter months.