Years ago, when I was walking along a sidewalk in Southern California, I spotted a bird feeder in the side yard of someone’s apartment. There were a few birds at the feeder, so I stopped to take a quick look.
I saw a bird that had orange on its head and chest. I had never seen this bird before (or so I thought)! Did I find a new species to add to my life list? I was very excited… I took a quick photo or two and went on my way.
Later that night, I decided to look at my photos and do some “homework.” I would try to figure out just what bird I had seen at the feeder.
Well needless to say… I should have done “homework” on birds in California before I went out there for my trip. It might have saved me the embarrassment of realizing that I had in fact seen the common House Finch!
This is a House Finch that I found in California. They are common all over the US. They are native to the Southwest, but in the 1940s pet store owners who had been illegally selling these birds in New York, set them free so they wouldn’t get in trouble. Since then, these birds have colonized and spread all the way over to the central part of the country, meeting up with their native western kin.
Note the very orange coloring this bird has. I find that most of the House Finches I see in California seem to be mostly orange.
Now here is a House Finch from the East Coast.
Do you see the red? That is why I thought I had a different bird… though when you really look at the birds, they look identical in every other feature! So, maybe I was just very new to birding… now I can hear them singing and know just who I’m listening to.
Have you ever been confused about what bird you are looking at? I still have trouble with Sandpipers, Hawks and Sparrows!!!
Stay happy 🙂