House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) 6 inches long
The House Finch is a cheery looking little bird with a warbling song and a pretty red coloring. The adult female and juveniles are brown-streaked, although the young males show adult coloring by their first fall. These birds are seed-eaters that forage on the ground in fields and backyards. They are very adaptable and can be found in many habitats. Quick to spot feeders, they will probably will be your first customers when you put out your breadcrumbs or seed. They build their cuplike nests on buildings as well as in shrubs, trees, or cactuses.
House Finches remain in Arizona year round and can often be seen in large flocks during the winter. Throughout the west the House Finch occupies the niche the English Sparrow fills in the eastern part of the U.S. Although they are fond of cultivated fruits, these birds mainly eat weed seeds. They are common around dwellings, near suburbs and farms, often in large numbers.
Alderfer, Jonathan (ed.). National Geographic Field Guide to Birds: Arizona/New Mexico . Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006. This handy, really pocket-size (4x6) guide includes most of the birds you're likely to see in Arizona. In addition to a photo, it includes information about behavior, habitat and specific local sites where you are likely to find the bird.
Corman, Troy E. and Cathryn Wise-Gervais (eds.) Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.
Sibley, David Allen. The Sibley Guide to Birds. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000.