The House Finch Mating Habits
House Finches are known to be monogamous birds. That is, they find a mate and stick with each other during the breeding seasons. A couple can have several broods each year. During the courtship period, House Finches exhibit an interesting display, much like other song birds.
What happens is that the female House Finch usually solicits food from the male House Finch. The male House Finch may then offer the female bits of choice morsels. The female bird may imitate the posture of a hungry chick. More than merely offering the food, the male may actually feed the female House Finch during the courtship period. This feeding of the female bird by the male House Finch may continue onto the breeding period as well as the incubation period.
During the mating season, it is a common sight to see male House Finches hopping around with sticks in their beaks. These sticks may be substituted by other materials that can be used for nesting. Interestingly enough, it is the female House Finch who actually builds the nest when the time arrives.
Another interesting display that House Finches engage in during the mating season is what is known as the butterfly flight. Probably derived from the way butterflies flutter around, this activity is quite a sight to see. What happens during the butterfly flight is that the male House Finch flies up to heights of around 20 to 30 meters. Once they reach a certain height, they gracefully glide down to a perch, all the while singing as loudly as they can. This is done in the hopes that they can catch the attention, and eventually the “heart”, of their potential mate. On the part of the female, they prefer to mate with the most colorful male House Finches. This is in fact no different from most other species of birds.
While the female is nesting, the normal tendency for other birds is for the male to protect the territory. The House Finch is different in this respect. Instead of merely defending the nest and its surrounding territory, the male House Finch tends to defend the female bird itself. Though they are small birds and are known to be very sociable and pleasant, House Finches can be aggressive enough to keep out other birds from their birdhouses and nests. House sparrows, especially, are no match for the House Finches when it comes to eviction.