This week's "Bird of the Week" is the House finch. The House finch is a bright red and brown-striped bird of the cities and suburbs. The House Finch comes readily to feeders. It also breeds in close association with people, and often chooses a hanging plant in which to put its nest.
The House finch is a medium-sized finch, about 5 - 6 inches long with a wingspan of about 8 - 10 inches. The male is bright red on it's head, chest, and rump and the female is brown and striped. It has a short, thick bill that is rounded on the top edge. It has two, thin, white wing bars. The House finch can easily be confused with the less common, but similar looking Purple finch. Click here for an article about telling the 2 species apart.
The House Finch was originally a bird of the southwestern United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, and they quickly started breeding. They spread across the entire eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years. In the early 1990's, the House finch population was greatly reduced due to an avian (bird) form of conjunctivitis.
The House finch forages (feeds) in small flocks, usually in trees, but often on ground and uses bird feeders extensively. It will eat buds, seeds, and fruits.
Photos from All About Birds.