Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ENV: Odd Finch at the Feeders

The goofy finch i reported the other day returned last evening (or maybe i just missed seeing it the last couple of days). This time i was able to spend some time watching it, and to get some photos (see below). It feeds about 90% of the time at the thistle seed feeder, which the House Finches are scarcely visiting at all. When it's at the millet/sunflower feeder it is aggressive towards any House Finches that come in, despite being smaller.

Overall the bird has finer streaking than female/young House Finches, is about a third again smaller, and looks somewhat intermediate between a Pine Siskin and a House Finch, save for having the face of a House Finch. I noticed for the first time yesterday that it is distinctly grayer in tone, and has more well-developed streaking on the back than the House Finches at the feeders.

The possibilities that have been put forth (some of them my guesses) are:
Runt House Finch
Different race of House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch X House Finch
Pine Siskin X House Finch
Pine Siskin X Cassin's Finch
Yellow-rumped Seedeater/Gray Singing Finch

This last possibility was suggested by Joshua Rose via a bird IDed at Bentsen by Mary Gustafson. With the return of the bird i think i can safely rule out that possibility. This bird lacks the yellow rump, and i get a rosy cast from a few feathers around the flanks. But Grey Singing Finch is one that's rather common in captivity (used to hybridize with Canaries to improve their singing), i've raised them myself. It ought to be considered by anyone with a similar odd finch at their feeders.

P.s. a couple fledgling House Finches were at the feeders today as well, and since i too had a notion that might be apossibility, i can say now that this bird is still diferent from them.


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