We have placed 2 feeders in the bird sancuatry and are experiencing some great bird activity.

Last week we noticed a bird we had not seen before.
He has a bright red head and cowl and was hanging out with the sparrows.

Click for full size

Turns out he’s a House Finch and much more common than I would have expected, having never seen one before. A tiny bit of research revealed that they like thistle, so off to the hardware store to get a thistle feeder. After only a week we have 2 mated pairs of House Finches visiting on a regular basis.

As it stands we have the usual batch of Sparrows and Doves, the occasional Blue Jay and our mated pair of Cardinals, Ricky and Lucy and now House Finches. In the past we have noticed a Ladderback Woodpecker in the neighborhood but he has yet to visit since setting up the bird sanctuary.

Still waiting to see if we get our annual interlopers, the baby Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, that have raided the pool the last few years.

Baby Black-bellied Whistling Ducks

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21 thoughts on “Bird-tacular!

  • June 7, 2008 at 7:24 am

    Just came across the same situation last night – two black bellied whistiling ducks arrived with their two dozen babies. Any advice?

  • March 19, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I think this is what I saw the other day hanging out w/ Sparrows and Chickadees. I have been looking all over the net to see what it was and this pic is the closest I have fount. I am in CT, are they common here? It is still a little chilly especially at night.

  • April 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    i also just notice them too and live in ND and have never seen them before definately notice the different calls they make versus the sparrows!

  • July 2, 2010 at 8:20 am

    How do you attract chickadees? We moved to a new development and have only a few small trees. I have a thistle feeder, but have not seen one chickadee.

  • July 8, 2010 at 8:19 am

    Thanks for the info on the HOUSE FINCH. I have been noticing these at my hummingbird feeder and wsa not sure what they were. They come in with the sparrows. I live in West Texas, between Dallas and El Paso.

  • February 7, 2011 at 11:44 am

    My mom placed a cup~n~dish bird feeder on her back porch here in Georgia and we knew we were getting finches,cardinals “male and female” we also are getting sparrows and the red headed finch hanging out with the sparrows. We are also getting titmouse’s which I had to look up too because we didn’t know what kind of birds they were. Thanks for such a great pic.

  • May 6, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    Just indentified House Finch on this website after seeing them on my hummingbird feeders since Easter Sunday. Beautiful to look at but I am concerned at their spilling and eating hummingbird nectar. Any advice?

  • May 19, 2011 at 10:44 am

    The last few days we’ve noticed a pair of House Finch’s in our yard in Seymour, Texas. At first I thought we were looking at red-headed Sparrows.

  • July 18, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Several house finches have recently shown up at my mom’s house in Pensacola, Florida. She doesn’t remember ever seeing them in this area before, and she and my dad put up outdoor feeders several years ago.

  • July 26, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I am in Houston, Texas and just spotted a red headed bird looking like a sparrow. I see someone has seen these same birds running with sparrows. I hear they are called house finches. I have NEVER seen these in the Houston area. Is it because of the drought? I was just wondering. It was obviously a female and male. Im sure the male was the red head.

  • August 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Just spotted these House Finches at our feeders in Charlotte, NC. Thanks for the picture. I too have never noticed these birds around.

  • April 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    have just seen 2 in a tree over looking our deck thanks to the pic now know what thay are as for the woodpeckers try hanging a wire suet feeders worked well for me

  • April 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Good Friday I first noticed a strange looking “sparrow” at my feeder here in Cocoa Beach. Thanks to your pictures I now know what it is. So now I too will be out looking for a thistle feeder and seed. Though he doesn’t seem to mind what the other birds eat. I too have a pair of cardinals every year and for the past 3 years a Painted Bunting and his mate have come around in the spring. Maybe its the building up of their habitat that is bringing them to choose to use our feeders now.

  • April 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I have been having them also they come with the sparrows, I looked on here and found out they were house finches, Never have seen them they are beauiful , Thanks for tell me what they r

  • May 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    These little birds do get around. I live near Charleston, WV and I have noticed them this year. I, like some of you, thought it was part of the sparrow family. So pretty to watch and glad to know what they are.

  • May 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    House Finch is common here in SE Pa.

  • May 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    For those interested, the House Finch is a common visitor to most backyard feeding stations. Their bright red chests and sociable behavior make them a feeder favorite! They gather together at most feeding stations enjoying your food and each others’ company.


    Sparrow sized at 5 – 5 3/4″, the male has orange-red coloration on the crown, breast and rump with brown streaked flanks. Female has plain, unstriped head and heavy streaking on a light underside.

    Range and Habitat

    In the West, the House Finch ranges from Southern Canada to Southern Mexico, east to Nebraska. It was introduced to the East in the 1940’s by cage-bird dealers who sold them as “Hollywood Finches” and now is widespread throughout the Eastern U.S. The House Finch is a social bird and can usually be found in small flocks.

    Feeding Preferences

    The diet of the House Finch consists primarily of plant food, although they will eat a few insects and feed them to their young in Spring. The House Finch’s natural diet is weed seeds and occasionally fruit. They will regularly extract seed from winter berries.

  • June 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    What state did you see this red headed house finch? I have a couple in my yard also since installing a finch feeder on a shepard’s hook filled with nyger. I have a pair of red headed house finch and a pair of golden finches. They have a nest in my front yard….5 eggs!! So happy. I live in Pt. Pleasant, NJ.

  • June 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    I live in Richfield, Wisconsin and just saw one eating oranges from my oriole feeder. Who knew a finch would like citrus!

  • June 15, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    Thanks so much its been driving me nuts trying to find this bird on the internet. Hes been hanging out with my sparrows that live in my yard. Have you noticed any agressive behaviors from them toward the sparrows? My husband brought it up he said they were mean to the sparrows but i have not seen that behavior. Thanks again for the great picture and identification.

  • June 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

    We put up a feeder for golden-finches, and now we are also getting these red headed ones and they seem to hang out with the sparrows. I live in St. Louis Mo.

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