During 2010, we published an article about the felling of the last tall trees in these parts and the effect of doing so on birds which depend on them for food, shelter and safety.  Since then a variety of birds has been lost to us.  Those birds which survive (Crows, Ravens, Pigeons, House Finches, et al.) are reduced to using fire escapes, satellite dishes, roof railings, etc. for perches as suitable trees are scarce.  This album features some close-ups illustrating the adaptability of the House Finch which is the last remaining songbird in City Birds Country, the Heart of San Francisco.  Mouse-over thumbnails for descriptions.

These pictures were first published November 14, 2012 by City Birds.

This male House Finch is ever alert for his prime enemy, the Sharp-shinned Hawk. Late afternoon a Female House Finch, perched on a satellite dish atop a highrise, is looking down upon the human fray of which she wants no part. During a placid, October morning, this female House Finch is heard singing softly to herself.  With her motherly duties done, she can relax.
Most times the House Finch is a fidgety bird, not as approachable as, e.g. sparrows.  But at times they stop for a picture. Perched on the edge of a satellite disk is a male House Finch with a female on each side.  The female (perhaps the mother) to the left is the larger of the two -- the smaller female perhaps is a juvenile bird. This male House Finch on a tar and gravel roof is selecting small bits of gravel to swallow.  The gravel is used to help break up hard food such as seeds in the bird's gizzard.
Birds such as Pigeons and Crows are repelled by these "bird proofing" barbs; but, they make nice perches for House Finches. Suffering through a rare San Francisco heatwave, his male House Finch is seen perched in a shady spot, panting and with wings spread to cool a bit. This House Finch is fluffed up to cool himself during a heatwave.  However, soon the bird will be fluffing for warmth.  San Francisco's cold, damp weather is not kind to these birds.  The long, cold winter nights take their toll.


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