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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

House Finch bills are disproportionately strong

Most of us see House Finches in our north Texas yards quite often. Did you know it's a strong bird!!  A Finch can apply about 100 pounds of pressure against a seed; astonishing for a bird that just weighs an ounce or two.

To help even more with seed cracking, the edges of its upper bill are grooved to hold onto a seed securely, and the edge of the lower bill is especially sharp.

While some birds take a single seed at a time from a feeder, and fly away to crack it open, a House Finch will open it right at the feeder.

NOW WE'RE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE.  It used to be that different parts of the country used different names for the very same bird. Today, the American Ornithological Union has the last word - it's the final authority for bird names in this country. So we can e-mail a friend in Vermont, or publish a magazine article read in Montana, and not get muddled up in regionalisms.

As a result, "tree mice" became White-breasted Nuthatches, a "scrapper" became a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and "carrion crow" (which is actually not a crow) became a Black Vulture - nationwide.

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