- RESEARCH -
Carpodacus FINCHES:
PURPLE FINCH
(C. purpureus)
& HOUSE FINCH
(C. mexicanus)

© Hilton Pond Center

Male House Finch

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House Finches, Carpodacus mexicanus, introduced to New York City from the West in 1940-1941, breed commonly in eastern states and occur in winter at feeders with Purple Finches, C. purpureus. In South Carolina, Purple Finches are migrants, but House Finches apparently are either resident or migrant.

Of 1,843 House Finches banded from 1967-1987 in South Carolina, 88% (n=1,622) were captured at Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History near York; these birds--plus 406 House Finches banded there from 1988 through June 1990--showed a 1:1 ratio of males to females. The 976 House Finches banded at Hilton Pond Center in the winter of 1983-1984 may have represented the southernmost large concentration of the species up to that time.

Migrant House Finches begin arriving at Hilton Pond Center in late October and depart in late March; an influx of local resident (breeding) House Finches since 1988 now complicates studies of winter migration patterns. Recoveries and recaptures of House Finches from Hilton Pond Center indicate some birds banded there in winter follow a narrow migrational flyway along the Piedmont physiographic province to breed in Mid-Atlantic and New England states or eastern Canada.

Migrant Purple Finches follow a Piedmont flyway to Hilton Pond Center 1-2 months after the first House Finches and stay as late as the end of June. About one-fourth (n=749) of 2,702 Purple Finches banded from 1982 through June 1990 at Hilton Pond Center were red males in their second year or older; the remainder (n=1,953) were brown birds that could have been young males, or females of any age. Twenty-six Purple Finches originally banded at Hilton Pond returned in the winter of 1989-1990, including 15 birds at least five years old.

Work on both species continues at Hilton Pond Center. As of 23 December 2010, more than 16,000 Carpodacus finches had been banded: 8,404 House Finches and 7,723 Purple Finches. Together, these two species comprised 29% of the 54,825 birds of 124 species banded at Hilton Pond Center.

Click here for an on-line version of a publication about this research.


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