The American goldfinch is one of Minnesota's most recognizable songbirds, a small, bright-yellow seed-eater that can be found in open woodlands (and backyard feeders) throughout the state.
But the Twin Cities' newest goldfinch resident is unlike any other.
A 12-foot-tall American goldfinch statue is now perched atop a just-erected sign in Bloomington, welcoming visitors to the city's South Loop neighborhood and standing as a representative of the 200-plus bird species that can be found in the nearby Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.
American Goldfinch sculpture in Bloomington
The statue, titled The Goldfinch, is the end result of a process that began in 2019, with New York artist Donald Lipski choosing 10 possible songbirds for the project, and members of the public getting to vote on their favorite.
They chose to focus on a songbird as a nod to flight and migration, and the diverse population of the neighborhood, the City of Bloomington said.
The American goldfinch won (quite handily, according to Alejandra Pelinka, director of Creative Placemaking with the city) and Lipski worked with sculptor Christopher Collins and FAST Fiberglass to bring the enormous songbird to life.
“Growing up through harsh winters myself, the return of songbirds announced the coming of spring," Lipski said in a release from the city. "The world really does renew itself. I hope this sculpture captures some of that uplifting joy.”
Made of Corten steel, fiberglass, and paint, the goldfinch is 12 feet tall and now sits atop a 20-foot-tall South Loop sign on the corner of Old Shakopee Road and Killebrew Drive, just across from the Mall of America.
Funny enough, Lipski said the sign the songbird sits on was maybe the most difficult part, as he wasn't able to make it look like a traditional highway sign over concerns it might confuse drivers, he told Bring Me The News.
Lipski also said this was his first large bird sculpture, though he has included them in previous works.
The goldfinch and sign were was installed on Dec. 15, Pelinka said, before the severe weather that swept through the south metro. Said Lipski of the American goldfinch winning the vote: "[T]hey are great birds and I’m glad that they were chosen."
While American goldfinches are migratory birds, with many spending the winter months in the southern U.S. or parts of Mexico, plenty will hang around Minnesota throughout the cold months, particularly in the southern half of the state.
However, they don't sport their signature sunshine-yellow look, instead molting those breeding season feathers for a more muted, olive-gray look.