Although our little house is nearly at ground zero of downtown Gainesville asphalt and noise (near Main and University), the humble trees we have are often full of birds. We hung a very simple feeder, hand-made by one of the boys when they were in scouting, and a bowl of water in the crepe myrtle in our tiny front garden. It's so pleasant to sit on the front steps in this gorgeous weather and wait for what comes.Today I was surprised by three unusual vistors. I recognized two of them, but the third I'm not so sure...
Although I didn't get a shot of its tuft, I'm quite sure these are tufted titmouses. The one on the left would go to the feeder and bring back a seed for two others who looked to be about the same size. Adolescent children maybe?
But this last couple confused me even more. I have rarely seen these, and never at our feeder. At first I thought they might be summer tanagers, but the mail wasn't red enough, and the female wasn't the least bit green. Google images implied that they might be molting, or adolescents, but it was the Oracle of Facebook that gave me the answer: house finches.
They are native west of the rockies but were imported as pets back in the 1930s. When selling wild songbirds became illegal in the 40s, a number were released in Long Island, New York. By the 50s they were established there, and they made it down to north Florida during the ten years. Thank you, Facebook and, specifically Katherine Vickers Edison, a fb friend who also happens to be a local wildlife specialist.
I appreciated the beauty and song of all these little visitors, and it's fun to learn their names and something about the life and history of the creatures we share our neck of the woods with.