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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Jun 16, 2011

House Finch taking over the neighborhood

Male and female

Although I had never seen a House Finch until I moved, now I see this bird all the time.  Last year there were just a few, mostly down the street a couple of blocks.  This year however, they seem to have taken over the whole neighborhood.   There are even some nesting in my neighbor's yard.

The abundance of fruit trees and bushes no doubt contributes to their presence and apparent well being.  Or perhaps the presence of the Ravens, who have established their territory here, has indirectly been beneficial to this finch species.   Whereas before there were one or two species of small hawks that hunted the neighborhood almost daily,  since the Raven's have built their nest site and their young have fledged, these hawks are noticeably absent.

In flight
The House Finch, as you can see is a beautiful bird who takes advantage of the presence of humans and human development.   They are a non-migratory, very social species.  You will see them in groups in the tree tops or singly on the ground, or at the bird feeder.  Their diet includes seeds, berries and fruit.  The fruit and berries are what gives the males their bright color which can vary from yellow and orange, to red.  Although red is the predominant color.

Male perched

The House Finch was brought to Western North America from Mexico in the 1940's and have adapted themselves very well.  But although it is a beautiful bird species, it's introduction  has had the unfortunate effect of displacing  the larger Purple Finch, who is native to the area.  Sadly the Purple Finch's numbers have declined because of this.

The House Finch may be recognized by it's bright cherry red head and breast, streaky brown back and wings, as well as a red rump.  They also have brown streaks on their breast.  Their wings are short and their tail only slightly notched, unlike other finch species.  In winter they fly in small flocks much like waxwings.  Their habitat includes urban areas, city parks, back yards, farms, and forest edges. 


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