Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Date of this Version



"Notes on Bird Sightings in Nebraska," from Nebraska Bird Review (December 1996) 64(4).


Copyright 1996, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


House Finches. This species has been appearing at my backyard feeders, 10 to 30 feet from our window, for several years, increasing in number each year. They came nearly every day in 1996 except during a period that I associate with post-breeding molt. Numbers varied from one to a maximum of 17 at one time, with 11 counted for the 1996 Christmas Bird Count. We commonly use 7-8 power binoculars to look for a rare Purple Finch. House Finches are noticeably smaller than House Sparrows and slightly larger than American Goldfinches, and feed with both species.

Males have varied in color from bright deep-orange to dark red, almost purple. Their coloring (not shade so much as amount and intensity) varies with the season, being most dull in the fall, brightening during December, and reaching full breeding plumage by mid-spring. The crown is brown on top and varying shades of red on the sides. The auriculars and part of the nape form a brown triangle on the side of the head, while the throat, neck, and lower portion of nape ~re a reddish shade. The br7ast and rump also are the same pecul1ar shade of, red, and the s1des and abdomen have brown striping. The wings are brownish to gray with two light wing bars, and the tail is the same color as the wings, and appears longish for this small, slender bird.