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House Finch - A Hollywood Star

Article and pictures by Kathryn Mann 

Until 1940 the beautiful male House Finch was found only in popular pet stores in most of the United States, and was called the Hollywood Finch because of its striking good looks. The only place they could be found in the wild then was the American southwest. Like the Common Sparrow and European Starling they were released in New York City starting in the 1940s, and have since spread to every region of the country.

Male House Finch
Male House Finch enjoying some grass

House Finches are slender and about 5 1/2 inches in length. Males have a red crown, upper breast, and rear. Their wings, back, and tail are brown. Females are primarily grayish-brown which is streaked on their sides and breast.

Female House Finch
Female House Finch in my Mulberry Tree (May 2010)

House Finches eat seeds, grains, and fruit. I often see them feasting on sunflowers and thistle throughout eastern Oklahoma. They are also regular visitors to my mulberry tree when its berries are ripe.

The female House Finch is the primary builder of their nest, though the male often brings much of the grass, weeds, and twigs used for its construction.

Alert house finch looking for seeds and other foods
House Finch surveying his surroundings for seeds and other foods

Even though House Finches are small birds it is not uncommon for them to live ten years.



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Teresa      8:25 PM Thu 6/30/2016

Started seeing many pairs of the House finch since keeping my feeders out into summer. Lots of Cardinals & Blue birds, too. I always have woodpeckers of all sizes as well as Hummingbirds. I love living in Harrah,Ok. Just hate the turnpike coming over us and polluting our little country community. I live so close to where the toll road is being built, I won't be able to hear my birds anymore.

cathy      5:03 PM Tue 3/31/2015

I almost forgot...everyone please plant coneflowers, other nectars, and milkweed for our precious monarchs. Thanks!

cathy      4:55 PM Tue 3/31/2015

Wow. Have lived in the country east of Claremore, Ok for 10 years and a regular birdwatcher but this beautiful March 31, 2015, afternoon saw the first male and female house finches. Mom has been building a nest in a milk jug I made into a birdhouse on east patio. They both are stunning to observe.

Charly Mann      5:44 PM Tue 7/15/2014

They love sunflower seeds. Put some out for them. Females are especially brave and often let people come very close to them.


Bonnie      2:46 PM Tue 7/15/2014

I, too, just figured out what type of bird I have that has made a nest in my Boston fern. I was watering today and a red headed bird flew out. I got my step ladder and peered inside to see 3 very wet little birds. I just knew I had drowned them. When I went back later they were looking much better. Should I put some sunflower seeds in the plant for the parents to eat or just leave them alone?

Fritz      3:47 PM Fri 8/9/2013

Today i learned that my "sparrow" i rescued 3+ years ago...is a finch! Here i thought his head was red from the dog food he eats. Little fella was tossed from his nest because of a game leg and 1/2 wing. Lucky i found him and raised him and he's going through a serious molt right now, so he aint as pretty as he could be, but one fine pet he makes, i cant believe it took me this long to know what he is!!

Tom Patterson      5:15 PM Mon 5/27/2013

I have at least three pair maybe more of thes birds, over the last three years making nests and raising babies in the the four boston ferns that hang from my patio, there have been many times when one family moves out another will move in, so enjoyable

Marietta Knight      3:40 PM Tue 5/14/2013

For the past 2 springs the adorable House Finch has visited my yard in Jenks, Ok. The male is just so beautiful.


christine white      5:57 PM Sat 5/11/2013

Just had my first visit by these adorable house finches at my bird feeders this spring. Very pretty .

Chris      11:51 AM Thu 8/11/2011

Hats off to wohveer wrote this up and posted it.

Sherry      7:49 PM Sat 1/15/2011

I had my first sighting of the House Finch. When I looked on line this is similar to the red headed sparrow I saw. I live in in the northern east corner of Mississippi. I would like more information about this bird. Thank you.

Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.

Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Wild Birds of Northeast OK

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