I was brought up in the San Fernando Valley, Ca. House Finches were a common site there but I remember the males were red and the females were brown. Living in Baja Sur I keep seeing these House Finches that are red, orange and red, yellow and red and everything in-between.
This is the way I remember male House Finches should look. Always chirping cheerfully, hopping around in little flocks and always red.
Here’s a yellow variant. I’m connected to birders all over the country by way of birding forums. Many of them have never seen anything but red males. Some have seen one or two variants. Very few and it doesn’t seem to matter where, say they see them often. Most everyone agrees the color variations has to do with their diets.
House Finches are common. In the west they inhabit semiarid lowlands on up to altitudes of 6000 ft. They are spreading rapidly in the east since their introduction in the 1940s. These birds feed on seeds and are attracted to feeders containing scratch and/or sunflower seeds. They are a joy to watch and listen to.
House Finches are susceptible to Mycoplasma gallisepticum or House Finch conjunctivitis. Two years ago I noticed it a lot around Los Barriles. Last year I saw a case or two and none so far this year. If you see a finch with a glob around it’s eyes and nose, that’s it. Some survive the desease, some don’t.
This is a variant House Finch. He’s all puffed up to regulate body temperature.