House finches. Will they cause problems ?

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baileysambone
Posts: 131
Joined: Tue Apr 05, 2011 12:38 pm
Location: Louisiana/Baton Rouge

I have a pair of house finches that don't seem to be intimidated by my one pair so far of PM. They are constantly on the house. When ever my PM land on the house, they are on the house too.
My male Pete dive bombed them today and they didn't flinch. The female had nest material today. I pulled the house down yesterday and checked all the compartments and gourds and no nest were found.
What to do ?
Yvonne
2011 visitors
2012 1 pair ASY male, SY female 9 eggs, 8 hatched, fledged 5
2013 5 pairs fledged 8
2014 4 pairs fledged 15
2015 7 pairs fledged 25
2016 10 pairs fledged 31
2017 17 pairs fledged 69
2018 18 pairs fledged 69
2019 21 pairs fledged 52 (biting gnats lost babies)
jeffwilliams72
Posts: 267
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 am
Location: Indiana/Carthage

Yvonne,
When I was trying to establish my colony, a pair of House Finch claimed a compartment and defended the whole area around it. I watched in horror as they ran off the 1st Martins to show interest in my housing. I kept pulling nest material until they finally gave up. I do believe they cost me a season in starting my colony.
If you already have an established pair, they might not be scared away, but arriving SY birds might be.
I don't think they could ever impact existing colonies, but they definitely hampered my efforts of establishing one.
2008/1st pair/ 4 fledged
2009-2010 visitors only
2011/2 pr/9 eggs/8 fledged
2012/9pr/33 fledged
2013/27pr/101 fledged
chickadee
Posts: 1126
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 3:02 pm
Location: ohio

I have never had house finches cause a real bother to my martins. I have seen them on the porches and up on the racks like a lot of birds. but never tried to nest. I have heard they sometimes will nest in a cavity. I have tons of bb boxes and gourds and have never had a pair try to use them. I do not think they are real aggressive birds or anything to worry about like sparrow's . this is just what I have observed with them.
2008 first year 1 pair. 2009 3 pair. 2010 7 pair. 2011 20 pair . 2012 44 pair 280 eggs 210 fledged. 2013 67 pair. 2014?
Chuck4
Posts: 861
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 10:05 am
Location: North MS
Martin Colony History: I started trying to attract Purple Martins in 2011. I got my first breeding pair in 2013.

2013-1 pair, 2014-4 pair, 2015-8 pair, 2016-12 pair 60 babies :-).

I had a pair of House Finches nest and raise one brood in one of my gourds last season. I had seen a bit of House Finch activity in one gourd for a couple of weeks. The Martins had been visiting and spending nights too, but in various gourds. I decided to lower the housing and check the gourd. I found six eggs! I couldn't really do any thing at that point so I left them. They got started very early and were gone before my first nesting pair of Martins got going. However, the Martins knew the Finches were residing there, and they sort of kept up with the progress of the Finch clutch I think ! As soon as the Finches were done, I removed the nest. The Martins actually nested in the gourd the Finches used! It's entirely possible that the success of the Finches encouraged them to nest in the gourd. The Finches did not seem to be overly agressive towards the Martins at any time. In a way I am greatful that the Finches nested there. HOSP are an ENTIRELY different story! I realize that any bird can be extremely territorial and aggressive. Either way it is a situation that needs to be closely monitored and controlled if a problem is noted.
PMCA Member
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freefallr
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:58 pm
Location: Texas/Cypress

I've had a couple of House Finches checking out my house this year as well, but no nesting activity yet. If necessary, I suppose they can be trapped and dispatched just like the sparrows. Not entirely sure if it's legal to do so, but they are an introduced species just like the HOSP's and Starlings. Anybody know the law on this one?

As far as the HOSP's are concerned, it's well worth fighting the good fight. Over the last couple of years, my neighbor and I have eliminated around 200 sparrows. Since we have not had a single nesting attempt this year, it seems we've made a pretty good dent in the local population.
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

house finches are protected.. they are "introduced" east of the rockies, but they are native to NA.

Some believe house finch populations reduce HOSP populations.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
freefallr
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 2:58 pm
Location: Texas/Cypress

DornCounty wrote:house finches are protected.. they are "introduced" east of the rockies, but they are native to NA.

Some believe house finch populations reduce HOSP populations.
Good to know... thanks. I suppose this means that it's also illegal to disturb the nests and eggs.
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
.
Trio-Jedi

freefallr wrote:
DornCounty wrote:house finches are protected.. they are "introduced" east of the rockies, but they are native to NA.

Some believe house finch populations reduce HOSP populations.
Good to know... thanks. I suppose this means that it's also illegal to disturb the nests and eggs.
I don't know the rules exactly so I would double check, but I believe you can move nests but not eggs. Once the eggs are laid, technically it's against the law to disturb.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Carlton
Posts: 1927
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Delux Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 7 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I have a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also have an rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, I have a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Delux Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

I had a pair of house finches coexist with my martins one season. The male ASY chased them around the house a few dozen times but eventually both decided to get to work nesting and quit feuding.

I observed the house finch chasing off house sparrows on numerous occasions. The finches will not damage the martin eggs or injure their young.

I THINK the HF is territorial towards it's own kind too so you are not likely to get any more than one pair. I would be interested in what others have observed
jr 2
Posts: 749
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: ohio,proctorville(just across ohio river from huntington,west virginia)

I was told on here last year not too never let a house finch nest in your martin housing;;I caught about 4 house finch in my spar-a-door traps last year and released them unharmed;;they are native and protected;;;jr2
PMCA member; s 2011 2 pair fledged 3; 2012 3 asy pair,4 sy pair,2013 8 asy pair,6 sy pair;2014 19 asy pair,2 sy pair
Steve Kroenke
Posts: 4342
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:49 pm
Location: Louisiana/Logansport

Hey Yvonne,

When I lived in Florida, I once had several pairs of house finches nest and try to nest in my martin colony. The finches were no threat to the martins and my martins dominated the finches in competition issues. Martins at established sites shouldn't have much of a problem with house finches because the martins are bonded to the housing and willing to defend it. Un-established sites may be different because any martins that come to investigate don't have "site tenacity" as they have not nested there and are not bonded to the territory. These martins are easily intimidated by other birds.

Here is a link to an article I posted about a vicious battle between a female martin and pair of house finches that had babies in one of my houses. The martin was TOTALLY in charge of the situation!

http://67-222-52-124.unifiedlayer.com/f ... 416cdb7ce6

Steve
PMCA Member
300+ pairs of martins each season
Anthony Neira
Posts: 1317
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2014 1:12 pm
Location: San Antonio /Texas
Martin Colony History: Started in 1992 From neighbors old 1950-60's colonies. Have 8 Trio 6 Room Houses, 4 MPP Poles, 1 Heath Deluxe Gourd with Troyer Porch, 8 NatureLine Gourds with Troyer Porches, 5 Troyer Horizontals ,& 2 S&K 11" WITH Troyer Porches ready for 2019 Season !

Oops! All this time I found out that House/Purple finches love drinking my humming bird nector when I use the h.bird feeders with the big rose cups, perches & removed the bee guards! It's been fun to watch the adults feed it to their young who join them there. The adults will even chrip loud to let me know when they're out of nector! I've done this for over 30+ years, and after I put up martin houses in '92, I've never had a finch go in my martin gourds/houses, but I have seen the finches harass the h.sparrows (guarding their nector?) :wink: They're at it Right Now!
jr 2
Posts: 749
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Location: ohio,proctorville(just across ohio river from huntington,west virginia)

I see house finches drinking from my hummingbird feeders too and last year was the first year I had a problem with them at the martin housing;;our hummers aren't due here till middle of april ;;jr2
PMCA member; s 2011 2 pair fledged 3; 2012 3 asy pair,4 sy pair,2013 8 asy pair,6 sy pair;2014 19 asy pair,2 sy pair
Carlton
Posts: 1927
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Delux Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 7 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I have a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also have an rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, I have a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Delux Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

The house finches like to nest on a little wooden nesting cup attached a few inches from the ceiling of a porch. If you can put the nesting cup over a planter or something as they can be kind of messy right below the nest. My front porch roof extends out beyond the concrete porch so the nesting cup is over a shrub and soil. Works great. They are so cute, friendly, colorful and sing beautifully. I guess someone could also put a section of cardboard, weighted down, under the next cup area too. I did that with a barn swallow nest for a few seasons with newspaper on top of the cardboard. Was easy to change the newspaper once in awhile and keep things looking nice.

They will also sometimes nest in a large fern or other plant that is in a hanging basket on a porch. I only had one pair, one year, nest in a purple martin condo. No serious problems with the martins.

Mine too enjoyed sipping sugar water from the hummingbird feeder. They also like thistle seed and black oilseed sunflower seed.
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