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House Finch

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Carpodacus
Species: mexicanus

La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma  form, kind, species
La. fringilla  a small bird
Gr. karpos  fruit;
Gr. dektes  a biter
Gr. dakos  a biter
Gr. dakno  to bite
Aztec Mexitili  god of war

Five to six inches long. Bright red forehead, throat and upper breast. Brown back and wings, long brown tail.

House Finch, R. Bruce Horsfall, Educational Bird Leaflets, National Association of Audubon Societies, 1913

  Robert Bruce Horsfall

Dull white underside streaked with brown. Short broad beak. Often mistaken for the Purple Finch, however not quite as richly colored.

Native in the West, originally with a broad range of habitats from forest edges, smaller wood stands, and deserts.  Now inhabits mostly towns and cities.  Introduced in the East (New York), and has since spread back westward throughout the U.S. and southern Canada.  Hawaii too.  One of the most populous birds in inner cities throughout the continent.

USGS House Finch Map

Builds nests of fine twigs, grasses and feathers in a wide variety of trees, vine thickets, gardens, porches and bird houses. Sometimes acquires the nest of an Oriole or Cliff Swallow

Lays two to six white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another two weeks. They may raise several broods in a season.

A favorite back yard bird, some California fruit growers being an exception.

The House Finch Nestbox has a 6" by 6" floor, 6" inside ceiling, 2" diameter entrance hole located 4 1/2" above the floor and ventilation openings.

Assemble with corrosion resistant screws and fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes. Secure hinged roof with shutter hooks for easy access.

Mount on a post in the middle of a yard just out of reach. Beware, with a 2" entrance hole, a mob of House Sparrows will also be attracted to this house.

House Finches will also nest on Platforms.

House Finch Nest Box Plans
House Finch Nest Box Plans

House finches feeding on sunflower seeds.
Build this feeder (plans below)

House Finches are bubbly singers mixing in chatter and other indescribable sounds.

They are accustomed to people.   Flocks, usually families of finches, often dominate feeders in large enough numbers to chase away house sparrows.  Although they also sometimes tolerate each other.

Parent House Finches bring their young to back yard feeders shortly after fledging where they must shell the seeds for them for the first few days. 

It's hard to tell the difference between the parents and their young until you see who's begging and who's feeding.
Sunflowers seeds are an inexpensive favorite and will also limit House Sparrows who would prefer mixed seeds given a choice.

To attract House Finches, also plant liquidambar (sweetgum) and birch trees, marigolds, zinneas and sunflowers.

Linnet Song, Wood Notes Wild, Simeon Pease Cheney, 1892


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