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October 22, 2011 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: House Finch

The House Finch is a cheerful little bird that is common across most of the United States. They are social birds and can often be found in groups in urban areas, parks and backyards.

In addition to trees they will nest on or in buildings, vents, ledges, planters and bird houses. They’re easy to attract to backyards and are one of the first birds to check out a new feeder. I enjoy their cheerful song and keep a feeder filled with safflower seeds, which seems to be their favorite. They also like black oil sunflower seeds.

The females are a plain grayish-brown with thick, blurry streaks. The males are rosy red around the face and upper breast, with streaky brown back, belly and tail. Both of these photos were taken in my backyard where the finches are frequent guests at the feeders and bird baths. Here they are stopping for a drink.

Interesting Facts

  • The red coloring of the male comes from pigments in the berries and fruits eaten during molting.
  • Females prefer to mate with the reddest male they can attract.
  • House finches are vegetarians. Unlike most other seed eating birds, finches do not switch to an insect diet during the summer nesting season.
  • They can drink up to 40% of their body weight on a hot summer day.
  • The House Finch is native to the south western United States and Mexico. In the 1940s they were illegally captured and transported to New York and sold as cage birds. To avoid prosecution, owners and vendors released the birds into the wild. They successfully began breeding and soon spread out across most of the eastern US and southern Canada.

I link up my bird photos on Saturday Snapshot hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.



Leave a Comment
  1. Louise / Oct 22 2011 1:54 am

    The red on the male is very interesting. It almost looks dipped or painted on. How lovely to have them visit your backyard.


    • Leslie / Oct 23 2011 12:55 am

      Some of them are very bright red and a few even have some yellow streaks.


  2. Raine / Oct 22 2011 5:51 am

    I like to hold one if it was even possible. The male House Finch must be thinking of finding more berries. 😀 Beautiful.


  3. mostraum / Oct 22 2011 6:27 am

    Beautiful bird photos again. Always fun for me to see all these birds we don’t have around here.


  4. Trish / Oct 22 2011 6:44 am

    What sweet little birds. The male is especially handsome in his red cloak.


  5. Kay / Oct 22 2011 7:03 am

    I love the coloring on both the male and the female. Trust a girl though to look for the handsomest (or reddest as the case may be) man! LOL


    • Leslie / Oct 23 2011 12:53 am

      I’m not sure why redder is better but maybe you’re on to something… it’s just a more handsome look.


  6. BermudaOnion / Oct 22 2011 7:09 am

    They are just beautiful!


  7. Jayme@Beachreader / Oct 22 2011 7:14 am

    Thanks for sharing the interesting facts about these sweet little birds.


  8. laurelrainsnow / Oct 22 2011 7:50 am

    Very sweet birds! I’m sure that I see these without realizing it. Thanks for all your wonderful photos and facts about the birds in our world.



    • Leslie / Oct 23 2011 1:02 am

      I’m sure you see them but they tend to blend into the trees with all the other little brown birds.


  9. smellincoffee / Oct 22 2011 11:42 am

    Lovely! I didn’t know about the pigmentation. 🙂 My photo for today is over here.


  10. JenniferB / Oct 22 2011 11:55 am

    Beautiful! I especially love the close up of the female. I didn’t know about the red pimentation in the males. Thanks.


  11. Diane@BibliophileBytheSea / Oct 22 2011 12:00 pm

    We have lots of these and they seem people friendly too – interesting info Leslie.


    • Leslie / Oct 23 2011 1:04 am

      The ones in my yard are very friendly. They’re at the feeders all the time and don’t run off when I’m working in the garden.


  12. Christine Rains / Oct 22 2011 12:49 pm

    Oh, lovely! You always manage to catch such wonderful shots.


  13. Suko / Oct 22 2011 3:42 pm

    Leslie, I love this weekend Birding Feature on your blog. Lovely photos, as usual.


  14. Bev@My Reader's Block / Oct 22 2011 4:00 pm

    Lovely shots! I saw what seemed to be a whole flock of the little brown ladies this morning while waiting for my husband to settle up what we owed for new tires (in a little pine tree near Tire Barn of all places). Naturally, I had no camera with me….

    Here’s my Snapshot:


  15. Lisa / Oct 22 2011 5:52 pm

    I think the bit about mating with the reddest male is kinda cute – that would appeal to me, too!

    My Snapshot is here.


  16. Alyce / Oct 22 2011 7:52 pm

    They are both very pretty! This is one of those rare times where I think the female is prettier than the male.


    • Leslie / Oct 23 2011 1:06 am

      That was one of the sweetest little females I’ve ever seen. And she posed for me for a few minutes turning her head and giving me several nice shots.


  17. Marie / Oct 23 2011 11:00 am

    Isn’t she pretty! We had tons of these at our feeders this summer. They were draining the tube feeders of black oil seeds daily. I always get them mixed up with purple finches, which I think are similar(?).


    • Leslie / Oct 23 2011 11:15 am

      Yes, they are very similar to Purple Finches. The female purple finches are a bit stockier and more heavily streaked. The males are more rosy than red. I’ll feature them as soon as I get a good close up of a male purple.


  18. Jill / Oct 23 2011 4:12 pm

    You sure do a great job with your bird photos!


  19. Carol / Oct 26 2011 3:10 pm

    Great photos. They are such pretty birds, and I love learning bits about them.



  1. Weekend Birding: Cold House Finches « Under My Apple Tree
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