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House Finch with blue feathers?

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I saw a bird yesterday that at first I thought was an Eastern Bluebird, because it had some blue and a red chest. Then I peered at it with my binoculars, and could tell it WAS NOT a Bluebird. I grabbed my camera and took some photos, through the window. Yes, I know, big no no, but it was only about 20 degrees outside and I didn’t want to miss figuring him out completely. Anyway, I determined that it looked more like a House Finch, which are common here, but some of his feathers were really blue. Not many, but along his back and wings. I’m not sure which terms I should use to describe that part. I’m including a few photos so you can help me ID this one. If this is a House Finch, has anyone ever seen them with blue feathers? 

Photo 1: lightened only

http://<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/140042978@N05/49208568013/in/dateposted-ff/" title="39174DB5-9F8D-4F41-9176-83913B27144B"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49208568013_59c68a0f27_c.jpg" width="800" height="787" alt="39174DB5-9F8D-4F41-9176-83913B27144B"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Photo 2: lightened only - I think I can see blue on the back side (other wing?)

http://<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/140042978@N05/49209052241/in/dateposted-ff/" title="F63BB65A-BE7D-445C-BBA6-43B3414D1C19"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49209052241_36c1308fa7_c.jpg" width="800" height="533" alt="F63BB65A-BE7D-445C-BBA6-43B3414D1C19"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Photo 3: lightened a lot, added a tweak up on the color adjustment.

http://<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/140042978@N05/49209052196/in/dateposted-ff/" title="3D9B9D6C-C734-4F87-A3E4-0C603F27A212"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49209052196_cd312f3543_c.jpg" width="800" height="551" alt="3D9B9D6C-C734-4F87-A3E4-0C603F27A212"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Photo 4: tiny bit of lightening, tweaked color more

http://<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/140042978@N05/49209270422/in/dateposted-ff/" title="C54868E3-BA79-4838-AB9A-D68C26149766"><img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49209270422_4bec9c52ab_c.jpg" width="800" height="533" alt="C54868E3-BA79-4838-AB9A-D68C26149766"></a><script async src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The reason I wanted to tweak the color adjustment was to see if my eyes were deceiving me, but the blue hue really picked up a lot. It wasn’t gray or brown. This was yesterday in my backyard, in central Indiana. Thoughts from the rest of you?

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Yes, that is a male House Finch.  The blue is likely the downy parts of the feathers showing, which are usually hidden and are gray, but can look blue in some lighting.  Maybe it got wet or lost some feathers.

Edited by The Bird Nuts
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Thank you, for the input. I don’t think it was wet. It was cold and dry around here yesterday, but perhaps it had lost some feathers on top. I had to do some double takes because the blue kept showing up, even without the binoculars. 

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No doubt it's a male House Finch. I wonder if the blue in it's feathers could be due to something in its diet. We know that the color can vary from red to orange to yellow in male House Finches due to something in their diet. 

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14 hours ago, Bird Brain said:

No doubt it's a male House Finch. I wonder if the blue in it's feathers could be due to something in its diet. We know that the color can vary from red to orange to yellow in male House Finches due to something in their diet. 

I wondered about that but the blue color is in areas not normally affected by diet.  The normal red is still present on the head and breast; the blue appears limited to the wings.

In the last two shots, it appears to be symmetrical across both wings.  This symmetry makes me question random darkening by moisture or exposed down.

Anyone else have "Guide to Little Known and Seldom Seen"?  Bicentennial Warbler!

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I had one similar this week in Michigan, but it looked like a thinner streak of black compared to your bright blue on the sides.  I figured it was related to some molt.  

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On 12/12/2019 at 4:47 PM, Bird Brain said:

No doubt it's a male House Finch. I wonder if the blue in it's feathers could be due to something in its diet. We know that the color can vary from red to orange to yellow in male House Finches due to something in their diet. 

Wasn't there a Great Egret recently with bright blue feathers over a large percentage of its body?  Maybe this is due to the same source?

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40 minutes ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Wasn't there a Great Egret recently with bright blue feathers over a large percentage of its body?  Maybe this is due to the same source?

There was another bird recently with unusual blue feathers, don't remember exactly what or where it was. The OP said it was a cold dry day and this House Finch doesn't appear to be wet. I've never seen down feathers on one that were blue like this one is. I really don't know what the cause is, but it's a very unusual House Finch for sure!

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Looks like completely normal color for feather loss to me.  As I said, the downy parts can look blue in certain lighting.  Look up other photos of birds molting (like Song Sparrows and cardinals).

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I think, too, it looks okay for normal feather loss. The bluish feathers remind me of the inner feathers you typically see at the edge of a brood patch even on birds such as this Yellow Warbler, which I cut and paste from a web search:

Yellow Warbler brood patch.JPG

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