One kind of bird that almost everyone in north Texas has seen, but few know by name, is the House Finch.
Its head and often part of the body are red (these are the males) so the House Finch is often erroneously called a "redbird". The females are not as colorful, having brown/tan markings that make them look sort of like a sparrow. The beak, however, is the same on both sexes. It is black, thick and sturdy - ideal for cracking open seeds and small nuts.
The House Finch is not native to north Texas, but has spread into this area, and multiplied, to the point where it's extremely common year 'round. It's now plentiful in almost all parts of the country.
Originally, the species was found in northern California, but was trapped and shipped to Long Island, New York for re-sale under the more marketable name "Hollywood Finches". This was of course, illegal. So several retailers let their "Hollywood Finches" loose around 1940 to avoid prosecution. The birds, actually named House Finches, liked their new environment and spread and multiplied rapidly.
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