Finches and Buntings

From sociable finches to colorful buntings, these beautiful backyard birds can be seen across North America. Learn about the types of finches and buntings you can spot in your area, and find out how to attract them.

Spotted Towhee

Spotted Towhee

Once grouped with its eastern counterpart in a species called the rufous-sided towhee, the Spotted Towhee now has its own scientific name.

Scarlet Tanager

Scarlet Tanager

The Scarlet Tanager devours many destructive caterpillars and wood-boring beetles, most often but not exclusively in oaks.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

Though the female usually builds the nest, some pairs share the work, and both incubate. If a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak pair raises a second brood, the male may take charge of the first while his mate sits on the new eggs.

Purple Finch

Purple Finch

In late summer, the Purple Finch begins to molt, and in winter plumage, a male’s reddish areas appear frosted. With wear, the whitish tinge disappears, revealing the rich breeding color.

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin

Prone to irruptions in wintertime, Pine Siskins are cute little nomads whose range spans throughout the United States and Canada. Watch for them in large flocks.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

Unlike members of most avian species, both male and female Northern cardinals sing. Pairs make a habit of counter-singing, where one begins vocalizing, and then the other replies.

Indigo Bunting

Indigo Bunting

During the breeding season, pairs of Indigo Buntings and other avian species often feed and bathe separately. It may help them avoid being preyed upon at the same time.

House Finch

House Finch

A western species until the 1940s, the House Finch was introduced to the East Coast by an unethical pet dealer. When some were let loose, they quickly adapted and spread, eventually occupying all of the eastern states as well.

Evening Grosbeak

Evening Grosbeak

In winter, Evening Grosbeaks wander in flocks. Their travels are unpredictable, but they may show up at bird feeders stocked with sunflower seeds.

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