Finches

American Goldfinch enjoying a rest in the sun.

While I am not a bird expert, I love being a backyard bird watcher.   I didn’t realize how many finches we had in Pittsburgh until I started putting sunflower seed chips in a tube feeder.  Previously, I attracted a few finches when my cone flowers and zinnias went to seed.

My favorite finch is the American Goldfinch.  The male is a vibrant yellow and the female is  a dull olive yellow color.  Did you know that the coloring of the male finch will fade in the winter?  When this happens, the males and females will look alike.

House Finch hanging out on the grape vines.

Another type that visits my back yard is the House Finch.  The male has an orange red face, chest and rump, brown wings streaked with white and a streaked belly.  The female doesn’t have the red coloring and is brown on top and has a white streaked chest.

There is another reddish finch called the Purple Finch.  The  male has a lighter raspberry red head, breast, back and rump and brown wings.  I don’t have a picture of this one.  The female is very similar to the female House Finch but has white eyebrows.

Finches love sunflower seeds.

In general, finches like to eat seeds, insects and fruit.  In PA, finches will stay year round so it is ok to feed them.

Finches lay their eggs in a cup nest.  While American Goldfinches have pale blue eggs with markings, the House Finches have no markings.  Purple Finches lay greenish blue eggs with brown markings.   While the American Goldfinches and Purple Finches have one brood per year, the House Finch will have two broods per year.

I have to give a big shout out to the “Birds of Pennsylvania Field Guide” by Stan Tekiela.  It is so helpful in identifying different birds.

If you missed my post on wrens, just click on it.

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