Since mid-May, the bird feeder in the front Audubon House native landscape has been frequented by House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus), closely related to the Cassin’s Finch and Purple Finch. The head and breast of the male is a vivid reddish color with the rest of the body brown and vividly patterned. The female is drabber and more weakly patterned. These birds eat small insects but are primarily vegetarian and very much enjoy the sunflower seeds in our feeders.
The history of this species spreading in the U.S. is interesting in that they are originally native to Western North America. These birds were being sold illegally by and New York pet shop and to escape prosecution were released over 75 years ago. The release birds thrived and spread north, south, and west meeting up with their western forebears. Their range now covers almost the entire U.S. and are listed as “occasional” here in Central Florida.
The female House Finch is at left, the male at right.
The female House Finch again on the right, and the male at left with a Dove giving some scale to the size of the Finches.
Text by Ken Gonyo. Photos taken automatically by a motion-sensor camera set up by Bob Montanaro.