Thanks to a release on Long Island, N.Y. in 1940 the House Finch is nearly everywhere in the United States. This beautiful bird was once constricted to a much more narrow distribution in the Southwest and Mexico prior to the release.
Tonight after work we had a pair out courting in our backyard, and then the female set about to working on a nest. Finally a chance to take some new pics from my new Nikon D70!
Here you can see the female with a stick in her beak (click the photo for a larger version to get a better view of the tiny stick):
The males get their distinctive red color from pigments in their food during molt. Females tend to prefer the most red males around for mating, perhaps it's an indicator of their ability to find food? Here's the male from tonight: