Unusual House Finch

January 2, 2020 was an unusually warm, short sleeve day.  I usually remove the basin of the birdbath during the winter so it won’t fill with water, freeze, and crack.  But this time I didn’t and received an unusual visitor.

Normally the upper part of the body of male houses finches is red.


Obviously this house finch didn’t get the message.  As I stared at him staring at me I was trying to figure out what kind of bird this was.  He looked like a male house finch but I had never seen one with yellow feathers so I figured he must be some sort of related species.


“do male house finches have yellow feathers” was my google search.  Turns out they do.


According to The Cornell Lab, certain circumstances may result in house finches having orange or yellow feathers.  They say that diet will determine the colors of the new feathers on a molting bird.  “If a diet lacks certain pigments, then a House Finch may end up orange or yellow instead of its usual red.”  This bird looks pretty young so it probably molted fairly recently.


Thank you for stopping by.


All photos taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 80-400mm telephoto zoom lens.

8 thoughts on “Unusual House Finch

    • I agree with nature always amazing with variations on what we think we know. The Cornell Lab website I linked to in this post had other topics about variations in birds, including bald headed cardinals that I photographed posted about some time ago.

      Liked by 2 people

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