This week I’d like to share three of the most common birds we can see year-round in our back yards.

The first is the House Finch. It’s a very common bird that can be found throughout the U.S., southern Canada, and down into Mexico. The finch pictured here is a male, which can be distinguished from the female and juvenile by the red coloring on their forehead, throat, and chest. The shade of red can sometimes vary based on their diet. Females are much plainer looking, as is typical for female birds. A juvenile looks very similar to the female, but with a more ruffled feathering.

House Finches aren’t picky eaters. They eat a wide variety of seeds, but I have found that they really like black oil sunflower seeds. They will also eat nyjer seed in nyjer socks, and will also sip on hummingbird nectar from time to time. A favorite finch treat is grape jelly. It’s especially fun to watch juvenile House Finches nag their parents during feeding time. They will sit on a branch or yard wall, flap their wings, and repeatedly chirp until their parent feeds them some seed, often repeating this pattern until they’re full.

Another very common bird is the House Sparrow. These birds seem to know exactly when a human is trying to take their photo, and they duck out of the way nearly every time. They’re lovely little birds. The males have a black bib and chestnut coloring on their sides, while the female looks quite different – though still lovely – with a cream colored brow and brown streaks on their back.

These birds also love black oil sunflower seeds, but they’ll also eat just about anything we set out for them. They’re also known to eat bugs, usually from tree bark or even from your car’s windshield! These young are also quite insistent on being fed by their parents.

Finally, the White-Winged Dove is a very common bird in Rio Rancho yards, though their overall territory is much smaller than the other two birds. This dove stays north of Mexico when they have settled in a suburban area, like Rio Rancho. It is distinguished from other doves by the white band along the edge of each wing, and the eyes are ringed with blue.These doves may or may not mate for life. They will often flutter down the ground underneath seed feeders to eat whatever they find there, and sometimes they’ll try to perch on a seed feeder to eat – making the feeder swing wildly in the process!


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