Now is the time of year when we see many baby birds at our feeders. Just this week a saw three different baby birds at my feeder in the back yard. One way you can tell they are baby birds, even though many are the same size as the parents , is that they flap their wings and open their mouths for the parents to feed them.
One of the babies I saw was a house finch. House finches are about 5 1/2
inches tall. The male has red on its head and upper breast and it has broad
brown streaking on its lower breast and flanks. The female has a uniformly
brown-streaked head and broad brown streaking on her breast and belly and her
white undertail is usually streaked. They both have a short bill. They eat weed
seeds, blossoms, fruits, buds and they love sunflowers at your feeder. If your
hummingbird feeder is shaped so that this short billed bird can get into it they
will also drink the nectar.
They make a nest of twigs, grasses, leaves, and debris in natural cavities
such as foundation plantings, vines, hanging planters and occasionally
birdhouses. They lay 2 to 6 eggs which are bluish white with speckles and have 1
to 3 broods a year. The babies are out of the nest and flying with the parents
in about 12 to 16 days after the eggs are laid.
Sometimes in winter house finches form flocks and they are native to the
western states. The house finch was introduced to the East in the New York City
area in 1940 when pet dealers, being arrested for illegally selling House
Finches as "Hollywood Finches" released the birds. Since then they have spread
throughout the East and South.
Hope you see a baby bird at your feeder. Happy Spring.