Males are brownish with a bright red breast, forehead, rump, and stripe over the eye. They also have narrow dark stripes on the flanks and belly. Females are sparrowlike , with a plain head, streaked underparts , and no eye stripe. House finches have a warbling song, frequently ending in harsh, nasal notes. Their chirp is similar to that of a house sparrow.
Range and Habitat
House finches are abundant residents throughout the western United States and Mexico. They are becoming common in the East and are spreading into the central United States. They are most numerous on the valley floors and in the foothills of California, wherever food and water are available. Though house finches are classified along with other finches as migratory nongame birds under federal law, authorities agree that they are relatively nonmigratory In late summer they move into the higher mountains and have been observed at elevations as high as 9,800 feet (3,000 m). They are generally resident birds and most of those in valley districts spend their lives within a few miles of the place where they were hatched.
The house finch is most abundant in the warm valleys of California near cultivated lands. Human development has created extensive favorable habitat including hedgerows, field edges and crop fields.
House finches are primarily seed eaters, and before the introduction of cultivated fruits, they probably lived largely on weed seeds. House finches have adapted well to the presence of humans.
House finches peck and feed on practically all deciduous fruits, berries, grains, vegetable seed, and flower seed. They also detach the bracts of fruit buds and eat the buds; at blossom time they knock off flower petals and eat the embryonic fruits.
Damage Prevention and Control Methods
Cover crops with plastic netting.
Remove cover used for nesting and resting.
Av-Alarms® and gas cannons have been somewhat effective.
None are registered or currently available for use.
Use culvert traps or foot snares; for bait use only wild animal road kills and scents.
The above information was adapted from PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE with permission of the editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson (Cooperative Extension Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control, Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee).