Saturday, March 19, 2011

House Finch, Northern Illinois winter birds

In the dead of winter, sunset light glints off the snow at Blackhawk Springs Forest Preserve; 12/28/10.
In winter months (November through March), there are many birds that call Northern Illinois their home away from home. I'll divide these winter birds into three categories:

Winter Birds that I regularily see:
American Tree Sparrows, Red-breasted Nuthatches*, Snow Buntings, Bald Eagles, Ring-billed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Brown Creepers, Slate-colored Dark-eyed Juncos*.  (*=Abundant)

Winter Birds that I occaissionally see:
Winter Wrens, White-throated Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Rusty Blackbirds, and Purple Finches.

Winter Birds that migrate to our area that I very seldom or never see are:
Trumpeter Swans, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Common Mergansers, Rough-legged Hawks, Long-eared and Short-eared Owls,  Northern Shrikes, Gloden-crowned Kinglets, Lapland Longspurs, Evening Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, and Common Redpolls.

Two male House Finches enjoying the safflower seed, Rockford, IL; 1/5/11.
Although House Finches pretty much are ubiquitous from coast to coast, the Canadian border to the Mexican border year round, I only see them in our neighbrhood in winter. They flock to my feeders (they especially like the safflower seed - although they'll eat any of the seed I put out) in winter and the male's red head, breast and back are a great contrast to the drab colorless winter environment (Above). But from April to November, although they live here, I do not see them at all.

House Finches flock to my backyard feeder, Rockford, IL; 12/4/10.

A male House Finch's red breast and head are a bright spot in the white environment of winter, Rockford, IL; 2/9/10.
A female House Finch is not as colorful as its male counterpart, Rockford, IL;  

A male and female House Finch, Rockford, IL; 11/7/09.
A House Finch looking for a perch to land on the feeder, Rockford, IL; 10/25/09.


Chesney said...

Nice capture of the finches, this is mostly what i have a my feeder too....I love watching them!

Anonymous said...

I have found what I believe to be a house finch. It is of the male gender because it has the red chest and head. It's a baby and cannot fly yet. I have a cat in the neighborhodd that eats birds ALL the time. I buried 13 birds last year that I found dead in my yard. What should I do with this little guy? I hate to let him go and fall prey to that darn cat. Thanks for your help!

jon said...

You might try to contact your local Animal Control agency. They might know orf a ird restoration program in your area. They feed mostly on seeds. You might try to grind up some safflower seeds then feed it to the little guy with a tweezers or a similar small pincher. Good luck.