Thursday, February 7, 2019

House Finch

House Finches can be difficult to identify for beginning birders. Three field marks point to this bird being a House Finch: 1) the head is relatively plain, lacking a distinct white stripe from the bill, over the eye, and across the head; 2) the upper mandible is distinctly curved; 3) the wing tips do not project very far along the tail. This individual is relatively heavily streaked below, which leads me to think it may be a first-year male. Although most male house finches molt into a distinctly reddish plumage, some first -year males remain very similar to adult females. I suspect the reddish tinge of some of the wing feathers may also indicate this bird is a male. I took the first photograph on 1 February 2019; the second image is of a more typical male for this time of year on 4 February. Both are at our feeders in Northfield.

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