Their range includes almost all of Mexico, extending north into the southwestern United States, and south to scattered portions of Central America, and parts of northwestern and central South America. It has ranged as far north as Canada. North American populations are generally resident, migrating only at the edge of the range. South American populations, especially those further south, may make long migrations to the northernmost parts of the Brazilian Amazon. This reflects a tendency to overwinter in areas where the temperature does not go below −1 °C (30 °F). Migrations may extend up to 4,000 km (2,500 mi). North American populations generally migrate by late August and return between February and April. Their ability to migrate likely aided their wide colonization of the Americas.
House Finch (M)
House Finch (M)
These birds are mainly permanent residents throughout their range; some northern and eastern birds migrate south. Their breeding habitat is urban and suburban areas across North America, as well as various semi-open areas in the west from southern Canada to the Mexican state of Oaxaca; the population in central Chiapas may be descended from escaped cagebirds. Analyses of nest records from House Finches in California spanning more than a century found that egg‐laying occurred significantly earlier in warmer springs.
Originally only a resident of Mexico and the southwestern United States, they were introduced to eastern North America in the 1940s. The birds were sold illegally in New York City as “Hollywood Finches”, a marketing artifice. To avoid prosecution under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, vendors and owners released the birds. They have since become naturalized; in largely unforested land across the eastern U.S., they have displaced the native purple finch and even the non-native house sparrow. In 1870, or before, they were introduced to Hawaii and are now abundant on all its major islands. There are estimated to be anywhere from 267 million to 1.7 billion individuals across North America.