House finches, unlike starlings or sparrows (these birds are considered to be invasive), are native to Canada and can be found all over North America.
The red colouring comes from the foods they eat: the more carotenoids they ingest from fruit, flowers and seeds, the redder they will become. That’s why there’s so much variation in colour and they get mixed up with other types of red coloured finches such as redpolls and purple finches. Personally, I always think that they look like someone spilled raspberry juice on them!
Finches love peanut butter and nyjer (thistle) seed, and if you also have a water source in your yard, you will attract many of them, sometimes 20 or 30 at a time. They’re busy, non-aggressive little birds who love to chat non-stop with each other and are beautiful to watch.
Six weeks ago when I was last at home, the lower Penticton Creek (near where it empties into Okanagan Lake) was very placid and the ducks were happily paddling along, with maybe a Canada goose or two around as well.
But now, the creek is definitely displaying its brawnier self.
Presently, it certainly doesn’t look like the same creek. In fact, it’s not. This is a river. I expected the flow to have started dropping by now (I posted about this a couple of days ago) but it’s still barreling along, the product of snow melt from the mountains and rain down here in the valley. If anything, it’s higher.
The ducks have unhappily scattered into Okanagan Lake and I can tell that they’re not comfortable there. They would like to have their safe little creek back.
The Canada jay or gray jay is a member of the corvid family and is ubiquitous throughout this country. In fact, except for Alaska and a small portion of the American Rockies, the gray jay is found nowhere else in the world.
Intelligent and cute-looking, the gray jay has also been immortalized in Indigenous lore as a trickster. Given how smart they are about getting food, that’s probably true! I have frequently seen them while out hiking and they always try to charm me into giving them something to eat. Shy they are not!