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I've seen yellow Cardinals before but this is my first House Finch with strange pigmentation.  The large cheek patch in picture # 3 almost looks like a female Purple Finch.

 

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Nice find!

Yes, this is a yellow House Finch, and this is likely a diet-related problem, not a genetic mutation, which is the reason for the yellow cardinals. In Hawaii, I have seen many yellow House Finches (they are actually more common than red ones) and saw one orange one there as well. According to feederwatch.org, in Hawaii and the southwest, the natural foods are low in carotenoids, explaining how common they are there.

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That is so cool.  I looked at Rich Media files on eBird and almost all the House Finches are yellow/orange in Hawaii.  Hopefully my feeders will "redden" him back up for the next molt.  Thanks.

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This is totally OT but wondering if anyone knows how House Finches have ended up living in Hawaii? They aren’t endemic there are they? Or did they end up in Hawaii the same way as how they were introduced to the east coast (illegal bird trade) - humans? 

Just curious as they aren’t migratory and I find it interesting.

If they are native to Hawaii, than I apologize for my ignorance! 😇

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Posted (edited)

House Finches are not native to Hawaii, as are most birds I saw there. 😟 (They are not even native to eastern North America, so I don't think I have ever seen them in their natural habitat!) To eastern North America, they were introduced due to illegal pet trade in NYC in the 1940s, and to avoid getting caught by the Migratory Bird Treaty, some owners released the birds. Even before coming to the east, they were introduced to Hawaii in the 1870s and are now extremely common (perhaps the most common bird I saw there) on all islands.

Looking back at my list of birds I saw on my trip to Hawaii, I have concluded that 16 of the 33 birds were invasive (!) and that most of the native species were declining in population.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_finch

Edited by akandula
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Finding non-introduced true native birds in HI is certainly a challenge. On my trip to just Oahu, 29 of my 41 species were introduced at some point. I was glad to get 3 of the difficult(especially on Oahu) endemics, 12 total wild/non-introduced species. Certainly nice to see all the species, but very disheartening when you think of the effect on local species. "Introduced" as applies to some mammal species that devastate some local bird species populations there.

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Yes, it is very unfortunate. Oahu was probably hit the hardest due to the large human population. In my comment, I was only talking about the lifers I saw on the trip. So, the proportion of the invasives that I saw on the Big Island, Kauai, and Maui are actually even worse.

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