Initially the House Finch was a bird of the west, but because of its rosy breast and very melodic song, people wanted to own one.
In order to supply demand, Pet stores in the eastern part of the US were importing this bird from California where it was a native resident species.
Once a crack down on this illegal trade went into effect, shop owners were quick to release the birds into the wild. Fortunately for the birds and many of us, the Finches adapted particular well and now are a common bird in nearly every state.
The male House Finch has a length of about 5 1/2 inches, with red on the head, upper breast and flanks. In some regions the color red may be replaced with yellow or orange. This is due to the differences in regional diets.
The female has a uniformly brown-streaked head with broad brown streaking on the breast and belly. The under tail coverts are usually unstreaked.
During courtship, females solict food from prospective mates. The males either mock feed or actually regurgitate food in the female's mouth.
During the mating season, males may be seen carrying sticks or other nesting material in their bills. As with most songbirds, they are monogamous.
One interesting detail is that the males will defend their female mate rather than a nesting territory as other birds do.
Although bird watchers may see the male with nesting material, the female builds the actual nest.
The nest is cup shaped and made of twigs, grasses, and leaves. These finches will nest in a variety of artificial and natural cavites such as old woodpecker holes, hanging plants, and occasionally birdhouses.
The nest is located 5 to 10 feet above ground.
The female lays 2 to 6 bluish with fine speckling eggs. Incubation is done by the female for 12 to 14 days and the young will leave the nest in about 11 to 19 days after hatching.
During the incubation time and for about five days after the young have hatched, the male, will feed the female on the nest. He does this by regurgitating seed into the females mouth.
The female regurgitates the food to the nestlings.
After the young have fledged, the parents continue to feed the young. The female may find a new mate and raise another brood while the male continues to feed the young.
House finches have been known to raise more than two broods in a season but the average two.
Unlike many other birds who switch their eating habits in spring and summer, Finches are vegetarians.
Their diet consist of seeds, fruit, buds, and weed seeds. Even during the breeding season these birds regurgitate seeds to their young.
These birds forage both on the ground and in trees. Bird watchers can easily attract this bird to feeders by offering sunflower, safflower, and nyjer seeds. A Squirrel Proof feeder is recommended for sunflower seed as squirrels will make off with the seed before the birds have a chance to eat. Check out some of the feeders below for offering nyjer seed.
A Heated Birdbath can be a valuable resorce during winter for all your feeder birds.
Super Spiral Finch
Giant Finch Flocker
Nyjer Feeder w/Tray
Upside Down Nyjer Feeder
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