Wednesday, June 22, 2005

House finches

There are three common finch species in our area, according to Sibley: Purple Finch (carpodacus purpureus, Cassin's Finch (carpodacus cassinii, and the House Finch (carpodacus mexicanus. And they're challenging to tell apart, even with Sibley's excellent paintings and descriptions. But...we believe these are House Finches, judging mostly by the female's appearance. Whatever flavor of finch these are, they are the single most common songbird to visit our feeders. Often we have twenty or more of them feeding at once, mainly on oil sunflower seed and on safflower seed (which the finches love, but the jays don't).

These finches have been on our feeders since about 30 seconds after we first put them out. They're here year round, with their beautiful song (especially in the spring!) cheering us every time we hear them. Which is most of the time . They pore through prodigous quantities of sunflower and safflower seed, most evidenced by the thickness of the hulls they leave under the feeders. Their beaks are strong enough to crack the hulls directly, so they can eat very efficiently.

As usual, you can click on any picture for a larger view.

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