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Iowa Time Machine: Iowa's State Bird - May 22, 1933

Iowa Time Machine ⏰: On May 22, 1933, the ‘Eastern Goldfinch’ officially gained status as Iowa’s state bird. Known to sing while swooping or sitting, the black and yellow birds provoke pride for many Iowans.

Also known during the time as the ‘wild canary’ and ‘American Goldfinch,’ the suggestion to make the goldfinch Iowa’s official bird came from the Iowa Ornithological Union. When the IOU started brainstorming potential state bird candidates in 1926, the Western Meadowlark seemed to stand as the favorite. 

The group hatched a plan to have all the school children of Iowa vote from a list of possible birds, however, the plan never got off the ground and for another five years Iowans suffered on without a state bird. However, during the IOU’s 1932 meeting in Des Moines, a new vote found in favor of the Goldfinch.

Soon after, IOU member and state representative J. Wilbur Dole introduced a successful motion in the Iowa House. At the time it was designated, the bird species was known scientifically as Spinus tristis. Most books now use the scientific name Carduelis tristis. Known for the ‘per-chi-cree’ call and striking yellow plumage topped with black wings and top-knot, Iowans continue to enjoy the swooping and singing small birds throughout the state today. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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