I ran across the word while reading a story by Charles Kuralt, and despite my Pennsylvania German heritage, I had to look it up.
A distelfink is a stylized goldfinch, probably based on the European variety. It frequently appears in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. It represents happiness and good fortune and the Pennsylvania German people, and is a common theme in hex signs and in fraktur. The word distelfink (literally 'thistle-finch') is the German name for the European goldfinch.Next step: look up fraktur:
Fraktur is both a style of lettering and a highly artistic and elaborate illuminated folk art created by the Pennsylvania Dutch...And then to understand why the "goldfinch" looks so odd, I had to look at photos to see that the European goldfinch looks way different from the American ones that are at our feeders all the time.