Yesterday I wrote that I didn’t think the common name for House Wren didn’t describe the small wrens well at all, that their common name sounded rather pedestrian and that Forest Wren had a nice descriptive ring to it. Today I’m sharing another “house” bird, a male House Finch and once again I think the common name for these finches sounds pedestrian.
Once upon a time before humans interfered (as they seem to do) House Finches were found in the western part of North America, specifically the southwest, which was their historical range. So why not call them the Western Finch or something that describes them more accurately? Who knows.
Male House Finch in a Wasatch Mountain canyon – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I see, but don’t often photograph House Finches at home, I get most excited about them away from human civilization and in their natural habitats. One of my favorite photos of this species is when I took an image of one on a Joshua Tree in southwestern Utah out in the middle of nowhere.
These two photos were taken on the same day that I photographed a juvenile Cooper’s Hawk last week. The male House Finch had perched on a branch above a brush pile out in the open in a mountain canyon, this was before the young hawk showed up.
Male House Finch looking down at the ground – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I forget what kind of plant was in the background of these images but a hint of fall color is shown in the leaves of the plant. The male House Finch appeared to be cleaning fruit juice off of its bill while I photographed him by rubbing his bill on the branch he was perched on. Unfortunately for me while he was doing that his eyes weren’t visible so the images I took didn’t meet my standards and will be deleted. He isn’t the most vibrantly colored House Finch I have ever photographed but I liked the setting and the eye contact I had with the finch in both photos.
Life is good.
Some House Finch facts and information:
- House Finches have sturdy, slightly decurved bills, brown streaked backs and wings, light colored breasts also with brown streaks, males have a red wash to their heads, chest and rumps. The red wash in males can vary from pale pink to bright red, orange and even yellow.
- House finches are year round residents though some do migrate shirt distances. They used to be only found in western North America but were introduced into the east in the 1940’s.
- House Finches can be found in cities, parks and residential areas, in western North America they can also be found in deserts, chaparrals, grasslands, mountains, forest edges, and canyons.
- House Finches eat seeds, fruits, flower buds, flowers, and leaves. They will also sip nectar from hummingbird feeders.
- House Finches lay 2 to 6 eggs which hatch in 12 to 14 days. The female incubates and they are monogamous.
- A group of House Finches can be called a “development” of finches.
- House Finches can live up to 12 years of age.