House Finches are all over the park these days, swarming from bush to bush, outnumbering every other species at the moment. It was a special treat in this bird profusion to spot a finch of a different persuasion. This little gold finch, unaware of the label “Lesser” that unfeeling birdpeople had hung on it, found a spectacular background to pose against; it’s almost a postcard. That’s part of the magic of Cesar Chavez Park for photographers. Not only great subjects but also scenic backdrops to frame them.
It’s not clear whether these finches live here year round or whether they migrate here for the winter. The sources say that some populations live on the coast year round, others go up into the mountains in summer for breeding and come down here only in the cold. I’ve photographed them here in the park previously three times, once in June, once in September, and again in November. The June sighting suggests year-round residency. But if that were a popular option I would probably have seen them more often. They have a distinctive sustained musical call that stands out from the twittering of House Finches.