The House Finch is commonly seen in bird feeders all year long. The males are much more red as shown in these pictures:
How to attract them:
- Bird feeders: House Finches are primarily seed-eaters and are attracted to bird feeders. Install a hanging tube feeder, platform feeder, or hopper feeder and fill it with their favorite seeds, such as black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, or Nyjer seeds (also known as thistle). You can also add a few smaller seeds like millet to the mix. They are hungry and need 10-25 calories per day.
- Water sources: Providing a clean, fresh water source will attract House Finches and other birds to your yard. Set up a birdbath or shallow dish with clean water for them to drink and bathe in. Make sure to change the water regularly to keep it clean and free from algae or bacteria.
- Natural food sources: House Finches also enjoy eating berries and fruits. Plant native fruit-bearing shrubs and trees in your garden, such as elderberry, or wild cherries. These plants will provide a natural food source for the finches and other wildlife.
- Nesting sites: House Finches build their nests in trees, shrubs, and various other structures. Provide natural nesting sites by planting trees and dense shrubs or installing nesting boxes specifically designed for small cavity-nesting birds.
- Safe environment: Keep your yard safe for birds by minimizing the use of pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals can harm birds, their food sources, and the insects they feed on. Also, keep cats indoors or supervise them when outside to protect birds from predation.
- Brush piles: Create a brush pile using fallen branches, twigs, and leaves. This provides House Finches and other birds with a safe place to hide from predators and shelter from harsh weather conditions.
They like to eat
- Sunflower seeds
- Nyjer seed
- Safflower seeds
- Canola seeds
- Sumac berries
- Juniper berries
- Dandelion greens
Birds that look like them but are not:
- Purple Finch: The Purple Finch is often confused with the House Finch because of their similar size and shape. Males of both species have red or reddish coloration on their heads, but the Purple Finch has a more raspberry-like hue and more extensive red coverage on its body.
- Cassin’s Finch: Found in the western United States, the Cassin’s Finch has a similar body shape to the House Finch. Male Cassin’s Finches have a reddish-pink head and chest, while females have brown-streaked plumage. The key distinguishing feature is the thicker, straighter bill in Cassin’s Finch compared to the curved bill of the House Finch.
- Pine Siskin: Although smaller and more slender than House Finches, Pine Siskins can be mistaken for them due to their similar brown-streaked appearance. They have more heavily streaked bodies, a smaller bill, and yellow patches on their wings and tail.
- American Goldfinch: While the American Goldfinch has a different color pattern compared to the House Finch, they are often found in the same environments. Males have bright yellow plumage with black wings and a black cap, while females are more muted, with an olive-yellow color and black wings. The American Goldfinch has a more conical bill than the House Finch.
- Common Redpoll: Common Redpolls are small finches with red caps, similar to House Finches, but they are generally smaller and have more heavily streaked bodies. They also have a small black patch under their bills and two white wingbars.
They eat wild bird seed and like the black oil sunflower seeds.
The House Finch’s song is a cheerful, warbling melody that consists of a series of short, rapid notes and musical phrases. Each individual bird has its unique song, and males can even have a repertoire of different song variations.
- Learning: Young male House Finches learn their songs from the adult males around them. As they grow, they develop their tunes, incorporating elements from other males’ songs and adding their twists. This learning process results in a rich variety of songs across House Finch populations.
- Males vs. Females: Male House Finches are the primary singers, using their songs to attract females during the breeding season and establish their territories. Females may also vocalize, but their calls are usually simpler and less melodious than the males’ songs.
- Singing patterns: House Finches are most vocal during the breeding season, which typically occurs from late winter to early summer, depending on their geographical location. Males sing more frequently during this period, often perching in prominent locations to broadcast their songs. However, they can also sing throughout the year, albeit less frequently outside the breeding season.
- Calls: In addition to their songs, House Finches produce a variety of calls that serve different purposes. Common calls include a sharp “chirp” or “cheep” used as an alarm or contact call, and a more drawn-out “wheer” or “wheeze” that may indicate agitation or distress.
They tend to come in groups, once one find the feed other follow.
During the day, they can be seen flying, perching, and feeding on seeds, fruits, and other foods.
In the evening, House Finches typically seek shelter in trees, bushes, and other vegetation where they can roost and rest. They may also gather in flocks, especially during the winter months.
They are generally a species of open habitats and can be found in a variety of environments, including suburban areas, agricultural fields, grasslands, and forests.
House Finches typically prefer habitats with a mix of vegetation, such as shrubs, trees, and open areas. They are commonly found in residential areas, especially those with bird feeders and birdhouses. They may also nest in trees, bushes, and other vegetation.
In terms of range, House Finches are found throughout much of the United States, southern Canada, and Mexico. I see them all the time in Texas. They have also been introduced to other areas of the world, including Hawaii, the Bahamas, and New Zealand.
- Size: House Finches are about 5 to 6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm) long.
- Coloration: Males have a red or reddish-orange head, breast, and rump, with the intensity of the color varying among individuals. The red hue comes from carotenoid pigments found in their diet.
- Plumage: The back, wings, and tail of the males are brown with streaks, while the underparts (belly and flanks) are lighter with brown streaks.
- Bill: House Finches have a relatively short, stout, and conical-shaped bill, which is perfect for cracking open seeds like sunflowers.
- Size: Like males, female House Finches are also about 5 to 6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm) long.
- Coloration: Females lack the bright red coloration of males and have an overall grayish-brown appearance.
- Plumage: Their plumage is heavily streaked, with brown and white feathers on the back and wings, and lighter grayish-brown underparts with distinct streaks.
- Bill: Female House Finches also have a short, stout, conical-shaped bill.
Things to know:
- Size and appearance: House Finches are small birds, measuring about 5 to 6 inches (12.5 to 15 cm) in length. Males have a red or reddish-orange head, breast, and rump, while females are grayish-brown with streaked plumage.
- Distribution: House Finches were introduced to the eastern United States in the 1940s. They have since expanded their range to cover most of North America.
- Habitat: House Finches can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including urban and suburban areas, agricultural lands, deserts, and forests. They are commonly seen at bird feeders, parks, and gardens.
- Nesting: House Finches build cup-shaped nests made of twigs, leaves, and grass, lined with softer materials like feathers or plant fibers. They often nest in trees, shrubs, or even on man-made structures like building ledges and hanging planters.
- Reproduction: House Finches usually have two broods per year, with each clutch containing 2 to 6 eggs. The eggs are pale blue with fine speckling and hatch after about 12 to 14 days of incubation. Both parents care for the chicks, which fledge after about 12 to 19 days.
- Lifespan: House Finches have an average lifespan of 5 years in the wild, though some individuals can live longer. Their survival rate is affected by factors such as predation, disease, and environmental conditions. Please keep your cats inside.
- Conservation status: House Finches are considered a species of “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List due to their large population and extensive range. However, they can be susceptible to diseases like avian conjunctivitis and avian pox, which can cause localized population declines.
Q: What are House Finches? A: House Finches are small songbirds that are native to western North America, but have spread throughout the continent. Male House Finches sport a rosy red color around the face and upper chest, while females are a plain grayish-brown. They’re a bit like tiny feathered valentines, with the males showing off their red plumage.
Q: Where can I find House Finches? A: You can find House Finches pretty much throughout North America. They’re adaptable birds that live in a variety of habitats, including forests, deserts, grasslands, and urban areas. If they were people, they’d be the ones comfortable living in a high-rise apartment or a secluded cabin in the woods.
Q: What do House Finches eat? A: House Finches are vegetarians, mainly eating seeds, buds, and fruit. In your garden, they’ll feast on sunflower seeds, dandelion seeds, and the seeds of other common plants. They’re the kind of guests who would go straight for your fruit bowl.
Q: Do House Finches migrate? A: House Finches are primarily resident birds, meaning they don’t usually migrate. Some populations might move around a bit depending on food availability and weather, but generally, they stay put. They’re homebodies, you could say.
Q: How can I distinguish House Finches from similar birds? A: House Finches are often confused with Purple Finches, but there are differences. Male House Finches are rosy red around the face and upper chest, whereas male Purple Finches have a more extensive raspberry-red color that extends down their backs. For females, House Finches have plain, blurry streaks on their undersides, while Purple Finches have more defined, crisp streaks.
Q: How can I attract House Finches to my yard? A: Planting native trees and shrubs that produce seeds and berries can attract House Finches. They’re also fans of bird feeders, especially those filled with black oil sunflower seeds or nyjer (thistle) seeds.
Q: Do House Finches like to sing? A: Oh, you bet they do! Male House Finches are regular crooners, serenading females with a lively, warbling song. They’re like the tiny pop stars of the bird world, just without the autotune and flashy music videos.
Q: How do House Finches nest? A: House Finches are not exactly picky when it comes to nesting. They’ll set up shop in a variety of places: trees, shrubs, vines, and even man-made structures like light fixtures or hanging plant pots. They’re the kind of tenants who would happily live in a shoebox if it meant having a roof over their heads.
Q: How many eggs do House Finches lay? A: Typically, a female House Finch will lay four to five eggs per clutch. And with 2-3 broods per year, that’s a lot of little beaks to feed! They’re like the super parents of the bird world, always with a new batch of youngsters on the way.
Q: Are House Finches friendly? A: House Finches are relatively comfortable around humans, especially if you have a bird feeder. But don’t expect them to be your new BFFs. They may stick around for a free meal, but they’ve got other bird business to attend to. They’re a bit like that casual acquaintance who only shows up when there’s free food involved.
Q: What’s the lifespan of a House Finch? A: House Finches can live up to 10 years in the wild, but most only live a few years due to factors like predation and disease. It’s a tough world out there for a small bird, even one as resourceful as the House Finch!
Q: Do House Finches have any natural predators? A: Absolutely! House Finches must be on the lookout for various predators like cats, hawks, and owls. They’ve also got to keep an eye out for sneaky snakes and squirrels that might be looking to raid their nests. It’s like living in a never-ending suspense movie, always on alert for the next potential threat.
Q: Can I keep a House Finch as a pet? A: Nope, sorry. In the United States, it’s illegal to keep native birds, like the House Finch, as pets. Besides, these little guys are happiest when they’re free to flutter about, sing their songs, and eat all your birdseed. They’re like the free spirits of the bird world, preferring the open sky to a cage.
Q: Are House Finches monogamous? A: Kind of. House Finches tend to form monogamous pairs for a breeding season, but they’re not against changing partners between seasons. They’re a bit like that friend who always has a different date every time you see them.
Q: What’s their social behavior like? A: House Finches are quite sociable, often seen in flocks outside of the breeding season. But come breeding time, they become territorial and can show a feisty side, defending their nesting space. So they’re like friendly neighbors who get really touchy about their parking spots.
Q: Do House Finches face any threats or challenges? A: House Finches have faced challenges from diseases like the House Finch eye disease, also known as Mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, which can cause blindness and death. They’re also threatened by habitat loss. They’re like the underdogs of the bird world, facing big challenges but soldiering on.