* House finches are similar to purple finches, so you will need a field
guide and binoculars to tell them apart. Their best distinguishing
feature is their song.
* Males are yellowish to bright red, with dark brown streaks on their
sides and bellies.
* Females are streaked and brown, with plain faces. Purple finch females
have striped faces.
* Body and tail length: 5-5 3/4".
* Habitat: Cities, suburbs, and farms. Nests are shallow cups made of
twigs, grasses, hair, string, cigarette butts, or wool, built in bird
houses, hanging plants, branches, climbing vines, holes in trees, and
* Range: Two disjunct populations of house finches exist; one in the
western United States to southern Mexico, the other in the Northeast.
The northeastern population was introduced on Long Island, N.Y. in the
early 1940's. The birds now cover nearly all of northeastern North America.
* Voice: A loose, disjointed song, ending in a nasal wheer or che-urr.
* Behavior: Feeds exclusively on seeds: dandelions,
sunflower seed. grasses, etc. Eggs are white, with black or brown spots.
* Native to the western United States and Mexico.
* House finches were formerly sold as pets because of their pretty color
and pleasant song. Those in captivity were released when it became
illegal to hold any native migratory bird captive.
* After their introduction to Long Island, house finches have
increased dramatically in abundance and range in the Northeast.
They are now one of the most abundant birds within their range
and are common in all areas with human dwellings. They are uncommon
in undeveloped areas of the Northeast.
* In their native deserts, house finches are good indicators
of nearby water. The intensity of red in their plumage is determined
by diet, and the reddest males are preferred by females as mates.
Few other songbird species in northeastern North America are
exclusively granivorous; that is, eating only seeds and feeding
only seeds to their nestlings.