An increasing number of House Finches have been at the feeders this past week. The Lesser Goldfinches dominated the show for the past month, with only one or two House Finches stopping by each day, but for the past few days I've seen at least four or five at a time, at various times, throughout the day. It's nice to see larger numbers of these beauties.
House Finches are considered a "moderate" sized finch, though they're noticeably larger than our diminutive Lesser Goldfinches. They appear fairly aggressive at the feeder, but they're much spookier than the Goldfinches, hence the low number of photos of House Finches in my photo gallery. I'm hoping they keep coming around in larger numbers so I can get to know them a little better, and maybe even earn their trust enough to add a few more photos to the gallery.
Here's some information on House Finches from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
The House Finch is now a common backyard bird throughout most of the contiguous United States and southern Canada. In its native west, this species occupies a wide range of open or semi-open habitats from undisturbed desert to highly urbanized areas. In the east, it is rarely found far from urban or suburban areas. Throughout its range, its fondness for feeding stations and for nesting conspicuously around buildings makes the House Finch among North America's most familiar birds.
One of the most striking features of House Finches is their extreme variation in male plumage coloration. In all populations males vary in color from pale yellow to bright red; in addition, the average coloration of males varies substantially among populations. Most notable is the virtual absence of red males on some of the Hawaiian Islands, where the species has been introduced. Males derive their yellow/orange/red coloration from carotenoid pigments in their food, and variation in the expression of male plumage coloration both within and among populations reflects variation in dietary access to carntenoid pigments during molt. Female House Finches prefer to mate with the reddest male available to them, and by choosing to mate with brightly colored males they gain resource benefits during nesting.