House Finches in Highland Park, NJ

house finch in tree
I don’t see house finches often in my backyard. However, when I look at the 2014 sightings of birds in Highland, Park, New Jersey, I see that the house finch is spotted each month. One task I have been started to work on is moving that list of birds into WordPress – the 2015 birds are now here. Joanne Williams has been sending me that spreadsheet of birds since 2001 – before WordPress existed (or maybe when it was a baby – see WordPress history). For various reasons, some environmental pages will gradually be making their way to WordPress. But I digress – back to house finches in Highland Park, NJ.

When you see what looks like a finch, you might think: is this a house finch or a purple finch? Seems house finches are more common. I did love this description of a purple finch: ‘The Purple Finch is the bird that Roger Tory Peterson famously described as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.”’

finch and sparrow
The above photo shows a house finch on the left and a sparrow on the right. They do look a bit similar – bottom coloring, head size and beaks.

I learned from this 1968 article that a house finch can also be called a linnet. If you scroll down, you will find a common on food of the house finches in Denver: “The House Finch will eat almost anything vegetable, though it prefers seeds, and experiments with different seeds show that hemp is selected to the exclusion of all others.”

According to the Cornell All About Birds site, the house finch is a new introduction to the NorthEast: “The House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (“Hollywood finches”). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.”

As we have had two March snowstorms (which is highly unusual for New Jersey), I’m sharing some snow photos, too:

Purim in the snow
The above photo of our backyard was taken the day after Purim (March 6).

snowstorm   20150320_snowstreet

The above two are from this past Friday’s snowstorm (March 22).

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

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