House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus

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Mrs. left / Mr. right – Winter color

I almost wrote this post about purple finches! Glad I looked into these guys a bit more, they really look alike.

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The red color of the male house finch develops from pigments in the food consumed during his molt period (birds can’t make bright red or yellow colors directly). The more pigment in the food, the redder the male. Lack of pigment can cause orange or yellowish males. Females generally prefer to mate with the reddest male.

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House finches are monogamous birds. To catch the eye of his ladylove, males soar to great heights, and then gracefully, flutter to a perch, while singing as loud as they can. This is known as butterfly flight.

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House finches feed their nestlings exclusively plant foods, a rare thing in the bird world. Many birds that are vegetarians as adults still find animal foods to augment their fast-growing young’s diet with protein.

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Hello? Ilex? I’d like some hulled sunflower seeds next time, thaaaaanks!

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Wow! I AM cute!

© Ilex Farrell

23 thoughts on “House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus

  1. I just love birds. All of them. But I want you to go back to the post on “A safe Place” There is a bird there for you. Go to the first pic with the three horses. Click to enlarge and then go to the very top and there is a bare branch. Can you see the bird? What is it?

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    • I went back and checked it out… I can’t quite make it out. It has a shape of a hawk, but you Aussies have so many cool birds down there, I’m not sure what it could be!! Google an ‘osprey’ and see if that is it. =-)

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    • I’ve learned a whole lot about birds in the last year. Not only does the type of seed matter, but the type of feeder you use matters also. Many birds can’t open the black oil sunflower seeds, so I like to give them safflower seeds. Many large birds can’t land on the tube type feeders, I put seed on the ground for them. Yellow finches just love the nyjer seed in the socks. All of them love to land on my window ledge. I have window clings for safety. The only ones I miss are my mourning doves, they like the cheap-filler millet seed in cheap mixes. I’ll get some for them in the spring.

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  2. Thanks for the great pictures. I have a number of these guys at the feeder this Winter. I just discovered today the little ones without the red color are the females. Does anyone know the meaning of the Genus name Haemorhous?

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    • I found this translation, hope it makes sense to you!
      “Haemo-” is the neo-Latinate form of the Greek “aimo”
      Likewise, “rhous” is Greek for a sumac and pronounced “orrhos” as in rhyming with “goose” rhous (sumac) but orrhos (rump), so these are blood-rumped birds.

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  3. Pingback: Momma House Finch | Midwestern Plants

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