House Finch

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Today, backyard birders from coast to coast can enjoy the sweet warbling of  house finch. But it was primarily a western bird until the 1940's. That's when some caged house finches were illegally released in Long Island, New York and the hardy species quickly spread.

Often confused with purple finches, house finches are slimmer and less vibrant and more common.

Common Names: House finch and linnet.

Scientific Name: Carpodacus mexicanus.

Family: Finch

Distinctive Markings: Males have bright red fore heads, breast and rumps; may also be orange or yellow. Females and juveniles are streaked grayish brown. All have brown streaked bellies.

Distinctive Behavior: The males frequently sings.

Song: A varied warble, often ending in a long "veeerrr".

Backyard Favorites: Nyjer, sunflower, mixed birdseed, peanuts, fruit, suet, and sugar water.

Key Facts: Sizes, Breeding, Lifestyle, and Related Species:

Length: 6 in., including tail feathers
Wingspan: 91/2 in.

Nesting: Females build nest low in tree and cactus cavities, then lay four to five spotted blue-ish white eggs. They'll also nest in birdhouses, hanging flower baskets and under eaves.

Habitat: Any wooded area where water is available.
Diet: Seeds of berries and weeds, including thistle and dandelion; buds on fruit trees.

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