Photo Break: House finch

My birdblog’s back, and it’s better than ever!  (Hey laaaa, hey laaaa…!)  Story behind the photo below the break.

House finch

House finch

Yes, I know they’re an intrusive species crowding out the purple finches, and aggressive at the feeders to boot, but this bad boy I just couldn’t pass up.  Looks like he just rammed his head into a jelly donut.

Contrary to the photo, most house finches I see in my area aren’t this colorful, even the males.  Color this high means he’s been getting his fill of colorful berries and other fruits.  When the finch has trouble finding pigmented foods like those, and his diet leans more toward the seeds-and-stems column of the menu, the red fades to pink to pale orange to yellow to nothing but the underlying brown.  (The same trend affects the roseate spoonbills in the banner art; their bright pink color fades to almost white when their diet is lacking in shrimp and other crustaceans.)

Watching them on feeders is so brutal you just can’t turn your eyes away.  No bird in their sight line is spared their cruel bills for much more than a split second.  They gots the issues, these birds.

2 thoughts on “Photo Break: House finch

  1. Charlie Post author

    Naaaahh, not battle wounds, though it did occur to me that it definitely was a suitable color for him — warpaint, maybe? 🙂

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