Jun 30, 2006

Backyard Visitor

(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.


Anonymous said...

Nice pic, Mike.

Kate said...

Very nice picture. I think the bird I've been watching at my neighbors is actually one of these finches.

I have a pair of Cardinals who have been here since I bought the place. The show up each year and have a nest in a tree in the back of the yard. This year there was snow on the ground when I saw the first one - a streak of red across the snow.

Jeffrey Smith said...

Thank you. I saw one and wondered what it was. The "click here" reminds me of an automated answering system I encountered when calling a company in Minnesota. In the midst of the usual, they said "to hear an elk bellow, press seven." Who could resist?

Maggie Thurber said...

HM - great photo...hubby says this is the same type of bird he's been seeing in our trees, but gone before I've had a chance to look at him.

We've been in this house for four years now and have so many more birds than at the other one...

woodpeckers, two cardinal families, two songbird families, martins at the neighbors, blue herons (which all the kids have dubbed "pterodactyl"), along with both a falcon and a hawk that fly by regularly.

Sadly, never have a camera nearby when needed.

Hooda Thunkit said...

Great shot Mike!

And, I could listen to that kind of outside "noise" all day ;-)