Immigrants from Mexico are much in the news these days and opinions vary widely on whether these newcomers are a good thing or a bad thing.
But one immigrant seems to be welcomed by almost everyone. I speak of the house finch.
Originally a native of Mexico, this little bird, like many others, made its entry into the U.S. in New York City. Around the turn of the century, birds poached from Mexico were sold in New York pet stores under the name “Hollywood Finches.” When such sales were made illegal by the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, shop owners released their stock of finches en masse to avoid prosecution.
The house finch quickly spread from sea to shining sea and since female finches produce three broods a year, with up to five chicks at a time, the species proliferated.
In some areas, the house finch displaced another bird, the house sparrow, a bird regarded by many as a genuine nuisance. At any rate, the house finch seems here to stay and I personally enjoy having it around.
The male finch has a red forehead, throat, eyebrows and rump, with a brown-streaked belly. The female is a mostly nondescript, streaky brown bird.
I have house finches at my place and they are welcome little critters. I’m glad they made the trip up from Mexico.