Finch, House

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Hello little bird up on a branch, with your little red bib matching the winter buds of the red maple tree.

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I think you are a House Finch… is this so? You are a bit more orangey-red than the raspberry red of a Purple Finch, with brown and white stripes on your belly.

House Finches have blurry grayish streaking on the belly and flanks, unlike either Cassin’s Finch or Purple Finches. Bill shape is distinctive for House Finches: it’s fairly blunt, and rounded, without a sharp tip.

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A pose! so I can get a good look.

Tricky bird IDs: Cassin’s Finch, House Finch, Purple Finch

Yes, I am counting you a House Finch for my Project Feederwatch count days this week, Sunday and Monday. You visited Sunday. It snowed overnight, bringing more birds Monday.

I think I saw a female House Finch too, but I wasn’t sure enough to include her in the count.

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The count for January 17-18:

Mourning Dove 9
Red-bellied Woodpecker 1
Downy Woodpecker 5
Hairy Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 5
Black-capped Chickadee 7
Tufted Titmouse 3
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Eastern Bluebird 3
European Starling 1
American Tree Sparrow 6
Dark-eyed Junco 6
White-throated Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 6
House Finch 1
American Goldfinch 5

House finches

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A couple of male house finches. Often confused with purple finches, but house finches are streaky brown on their flanks and purple finches are not.

We don’t see many at our feeders, but there are many out there…

The House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (“Hollywood finches”). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.

The total House Finch population across North America is staggering. Scientists estimate between 267 million and 1.4 billion individuals.

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House finches plus photobombing chickadees.

With their finchy beaks they crack open the sunflower shells to eat their favorite feeder food. They do not flit, but rather… sit.