(Toledo OH) What I thought at first glance was a cardinal turned out to be a type of house finch near one of my bird feeders today.
This male house finch has bright red plumage; his female counterpart lacks the distinctive ruby red feathers. Unlike many birds by my feeder, he allowed me to get quite close before taking flight.
House finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) were originally native to the southwestern US, and became prized by eastern bird afficianados for their complex, beautiful songs. They were illegally marketed as "Hollywood Finches," and were released by pet shop owners in order to avoid posecution for violating wild bird ordinances.
In the wild they began to spread into the rest of the country in the early- to mid-20th century, and have displaced eastern Purple finches in many areas.
Click here for a sample of the male house finch call.