Thursday, February 12, 2015

Guess Who’s Back… House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)

February 12th, 2015. I was enjoying watching (and photographing) a… 

male Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) at the sunflower seed feeder yesterday morning. I’ve been thinking recently that it wouldn’t be too long before they left for their breeding grounds in Canada and we’d see the House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) back at the feeders. Although House Finches may winter here, we don’t see them at the feeders during winter; we didn’t see the first one at the feeders until late April last year.
Then, an hour or so later, I noticed what I thought at first was also a male Purple Finch. It took a couple of seconds to realize that the red color was a little richer - a scarlet red – compared with the raspberry red of the Purple Finch. Lo and behold, it was a… 

Male House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus). 

I wonder if ‘our’ House Finches do migrate a little further south during the winter or if they are able to find enough food in the woods. I tend to doubt that they would stay away from the feeders if they are in the area. Last year, at least three pairs of House Finches nested in this area. They, and their offspring, almost ate us out of house and home during September and early October and then they suddenly disappeared during the third week of October. Thus, I’m inclined to think the House Finches that nest in our area may move away for the winter. 

In any case, it’s wonderful to see one again. I’ll be looking for the females as well.


Ellen Honeycutt said...

It's nice to see the two pictures together. I have had both species (not at the same time) and didn't realize there was a timing difference to consider. Thanks for the education!

JSK said...

It's interesting... I think this male may have been passing through. I haven't seen him again.

Last year, I saw the last Purple Finch on March 10th. I saw the first Purple Finch arriving back in the first week of December.

Last year, I didn't notice a House Finch until late April. It's possible that I missed House Finches moving through and didn't see them until the 'resident' birds arrived.