House Finch Spring

As you can tell, the male House Finches in our vicinity are wearing their spring finery. The red comes from their food supply. Females choose males with the most and brightest red, presumably because the reddest males will supply the most food to the female and the nestlings. (Except in Hawaii, where they have been introduced, but display no red, probably because the food supply there is different from the mainland – they love papaya.) Native to the Western United States and Canada, they spread throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada after several were released on Long Island in 1940. As many as one and half billion may live in North America now. Seed eaters, they flock to bird feeders where they prefer black oil sunflower seeds over striped sunflower seeds, milo, and millet. If you watch them closely, you’ll discover they are messy eaters, dropping many seeds on the ground, which both pigeons and Border Collies love.

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