This was originally a species of western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of House Finches, which at the time were kept as caged pets, were released on Long Island, New York.
The birds spread westward and were first recorded in Ohio in 1964. By the mid 1980s they had colonized the entire Buckeye State and by the early 1990s they occupied all of the eastern United States. They eventually reached their original western population.
Adult males vary in color from orange-yellow to bright red. They derive their color from the pigments that are obtained from their diet of seeds, flowers and fruit. Females and immature birds are brownish and lack the bright colors of adult males.
Studies indicate that the most brightly colored males are more successful at attracting mates than their duller counterparts.
These days House Finches are particularly abundant in suburban areas. These small songbirds are often seen at birdfeeders. Though not native to Ohio, most people don’t seem to mind these adaptable, colorful and cheery-voiced creatures.