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House Finch

Above: House Finch  by: Christian Artuso

How Do I Recognize It?

The House Finch, about the size of a House Sparrow, has a rounded head and short bill.  Mature males are reddish about the face, breast and rump (sometimes orange or dull yellow), and  otherwise brownish, with streaks on the back, belly and tail.  Mature females and immatures of both sexes are faintly streaky above and brownish overall, with blurry, streaked undersides.  Both sexes have slightly notched tails.

Above: House Finch  by: Christian Artuso

Does It Migrate?

Western populations of the House Finch are mostly resident year-round, though some may move to lower altitudes in winter.  Some part of eastern populations may migrate south in winter.  At least some House Finches may be found in southern Manitoba throughout the year.

Above: House Finch  by: Christian Artuso

Where Does It Live?

House finches breed throughout the United States, where they are more common, and into southern Canada. 

Where Can I See It?

Often found in suburbs, look for these small birds near bird feeders in towns and cities across southern Manitoba.  When away from feeders, they may be foraging on the ground or in weeds, or perched in trees and shrubs.  House Finches may also be found around barns and stables in rural areas.  They are gregarious outside of the breeding season, so are often seen in flocks.

Above: House Finch  by: Christian Artuso

Conservation Status

Quite common throughout much of its range, House finches are not under any imminent conservation threats;  a disease called mycoplasmal conjunctivitis, which causes respiratory difficulties and crusty, swollen eyes, can sometimes devastate local populations.

Did You Know?

House Finches are native to the arid southwestern United States.  Eastern populations are descendants of captive birds illegally introduced in New York in the early 1940's.  Today, House Finches are found continent-wide.  House finches were first recorded in Manitoba in 1983.

Above: House Finch Pair  by: Christian Artuso