House finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), also known as linnets, are about the same size as house sparrows. Description House finches, also commonly referred to as linnets, are small songbirds native to the southwestern United States. They have held a widespread presence in the contiguous states since the 1940s, when pet shop owners sold the birds illegally and released a large number into the wild to escape possible repercussions from the authorities. Unexpectedly, house finches survived and multiplied. Though they do not necessarily prefer urban settings, human habitations and landscaping offer house finches excellent settings to nest. Appearance Sexual dimorphism helps protect female house finches during mating season, as the difference in coloration draws attention to male birds. The bodies of females appear light to dark brown, though some have pale red undertones. Males, on the other hand, are brightly colored with rose-pink throats and rumps. The backs and heads of house finch males are also typically streaked with red, while the rest of the body resembles that of the female. House finches are usually 5.5 inches (14 cm) in total length, including the tail. Their wingspan is approximately 3 inches (8.5 cm) lengthwise. Habitat House finches are found throughout the United States, Mexico, and southern Canada. The birds that live in the east migrate south for the winter months. They prefer environments that provide some cover and will nest in conifers, palms, ivy clinging to the sides of buildings, cacti, holes in manmade structures, hanging planters, scrub-growth, hedges, and crop fields. Entry Are house finches known to enter homes or yards? Opportunistic nesters, house finches set up habitations wherever suitable areas are present, which includes homes and yards. Homeowners may find these songbirds in ornamental trees, tall bushes or shrubs, or suspended potted plants in yards. Though house finches are not known for entering homes, they will nest in cracks or openings on the exteriors of buildings. Damage Do house finches harm people or property? The diet of house finches is composed of various seeds, which makes them a serious pest of crops. Doing the bulk of their damage when fruits are starting to ripen, house finches attack apples, apricots, avocadoes, blackberries, cherries, figs, grapes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, buds on almond plants, the seeds of broccoli, sunflowers, and tomato plants. House finches can also have an adverse effect on the visage of buildings, as their droppings stain surfaces. Control and Safety Many exclusion methods exist to keep house finches away. Removing large piles of brush, keeping trees and other foliage neatly trimmed, and sealing any holes in buildings all make properties less suitable to house finch nesting. Additional bird repellants, like scarecrows and other scare tactics, may reduce the possibility of house finches moving into yards. Farmers should invest in plastic mesh netting to cover fields of crops. Trapping and Removal House finches are protected under the U.S. Migratory Bird Act, which means they cannot be captured without a permit. As such, individuals dealing with large and obtrusive populations of house finches should contact Critter Control specialists, who have the licenses and knowledge necessary to effectively and safely deal with infestations. We can help you get rid of house finch problems. Call today: 1.800.274.8837.