The house finch, or Carpodacus mexicanus, is a type of finch characterized by their large beak and short wings. The males have a red head and chest, with brown and white stripes covering the rest of their body, tail, and wings. Females have no red coloring, being primarily light brown with dark brown edges on their wings and tail. The male and female are similar in size, about five inches in length and weighing just under an ounce.
House finches’ diet consists almost entirely of plants, seeds, fruits, and buds. Some examples of these include cactus, thistle, berries, and sunflower seeds, with their food sources varying based on the season. They are ground foragers and can often be seen foraging in groups.
The house finch is found throughout the United States, even in highly developed or urban settings. Native to the West, they can be found in natural habitats such as dry desert regions and low elevation coniferous forests. The rim ecosystem at Cedar Breaks is higher compared to their typical habitat, but the house finch can occasionally be seen throughout the park during the summer season. They prefer to nest in coniferous trees or hidden spots on buildings, building their nest out of twigs, leaves, wool, and feathers. Females lay two to six eggs each year, and paired birds tend to stay together throughout the year.
There are no exceptional threats to the house finch, and their population has increased in the last 50 years, unlike many bird species. Their primary risk is disease outbreak that began in the 1990s, which took an initial hit to their population. As with all wildlife, it’s important to be respectful of the house finch and their habitat. Keep your distance from them, maintain the park speed limit, and refrain from feeding them.
(n.d.). House Finch [Review of House Finch]. All about Birds; The Cornell Lab. https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/House_Finch/id
(n.d.). House Finch [Review of House Finch]. Audubon Field Guide; Audubon. https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/house-finch
Last updated: April 26, 2022