Re: [BRDBRAIN, SWFLBirdline]House Finches in Charlotte county, a first!?!...
- In a message dated 6/30/03 9:50:49 PM, hoatzin@... writes:
<< Our first House Finch was seen in Polk County in a large sparrow field near
Lake Wales on January 2, 1994. We have had winter records ever since with
flocks of 15 to 25 reported in both Winter Haven and Lake Wales. A few
summer records exist with one report of nest building in Lakeland in 2001. I
never thought that we were looking at escapes but a natural range extension
from the North.
>>Chuck and BRDBRAINers,
For those of you who are interested, I have "sketched out" the history of
House finches in Florida, as I have recorded it.
The first House Finch reported in Florida was one in Hollywood (Broward Co.)
in 1980; it is believed to have been an escape. In southern Florida
other House Finches were reported in Miami (Miami-Dade Co.) in 1987; Palm
(Palm Beach Co.), 1988; Ft. Myers (Lee Co.) 1991; McArthur SRA (Palm Beach
Co.), 1991; and Homestead (Miami-Dade Co.), 1992 & 1993. There was
speculation that finches in Palm Beach Co. bred during the summer of 1988.
Compare: the first one to be found in northern Florida and considered to be
from the feral population was at Gulf Breeze (Santa Rosa Co.) in the
panhandle in 1983. Through 1993, reports of House Finches came from the
(Pensacola [Escambia Co.] to Pt. St. Joe [Gulf Co.]), the Big Bend
(Tallahassee [Leon Co.], Carabelle [Franklin Co.]), and northern Florida
(Lake City [Columbia Co.], Jacksonville [Duval Co.]). The first birds on
Cedar Key (Levy Co.) in northern Florida were seen in 1988, and in 1993,
finches continued to be reported there. In 1992, some House Finches escaped
captivity in Gainesville (Alachua Co.), and from that year forward, House
Finches increased in Alachua Co.
By the end of 1993, there were no reports of House Finches in north Florida
south of Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Cedar Key, or in south or central
Florida north of Palm Beach and Lee counties. Each population was about
equal distance from Polk County and could have come from either direction.
In 1994, Polk Co. (Chuck, the attribution does go to you) reported 1 House
Finch on the 2 Jan Lake Wales CBC. That winter there were no reports south of
Jacksonville, Gainesville and Cedar Key, or anywhere in the southern peninsula.
In the spring of 1994, 2 were reported in Cross City (Dixie County's first
report) north of Cedar Key. In spring 1995, breeding was reported in
Gainesville; and, that summer came the first report of breeding in Jacksonville.
In fall of 1995, a male showed up at a feeder in Apopka (Orange Co.), and 3
"in female plumage" were seen at Archbold Biological Station (Highlands Co.).
In fall 1996, came the first report for Marion Co. (Ocala), that of a pair.
In February 1997, 1 was reported in Winter Haven (Polk Co.). In fall 1997, one
was seen in Crystal River
(Citrus Co.) and during that winter 13 were found in Brooksville (Hernando
Co.). Spring of 1998, had nesting reported in Ocala for the first time, with
individuals noted at Longboat Key (Manatee Co.), and at Haines City (Polk Co)
since winter. The first for Pinellas Co. was 1 reported in Largo in August
1998, joined by another in October. In 1999, a male appeared in Sarasota in
February, joined by a female in March, while in Lakeland, a failed breeding
attempt, the first reported for Polk Co., was reported. During that summer,
successful breeding was reported in Ft. Lauderdale.
The following winter (1999-2000), Pasco Co. had its first report at Dade City,
while 4 were reported at Haines City. That next summer a female and a
juvenile were fount in Lutz (Pasco Co.), and the first Atlantic coast report south
of Jacksonville came from Melbourne with one there in August. Pasco Co.
chalked up another report with 1 at New Port Richey in Feb 2001. That spring
Hernando Co. tallied its second at Spring Hill, and the Atlantic coast added a
third county with one singing at Daytona Beach (Volusia Co.). The spring brought
reports of 1 at Spring Hill, and 2 at Lutz for Hillsborough Co's second report.
During the winter of 2001/2002 up to 15 were reported in Polk Co., as well
as 2 at Tampa (Hillsborough Co.) and 1 in
at Land O' Lakes (Pasco Co.). By the winter of 2002/2003, more reports came
from the Gulf coast south to Sarasota, and inland, 3 appeared in Orange Co.
for the first time since 1995; by spring 2003, more birds were seen in Orange
Co., and the first reports for Seminole and Lake counties.
While the first Polk bird could have come from either direction, the pattern
of reports after the date of that bird shows a southward progression of the
eastern feral population (and probably the Gainesville escapes); the Polk House
Finches of today are most likely from that population.
I was fairly certain that I read a report of House Finch(es) in Osceola
County in the latter half of the 1990s. Presently, I am unable to locate one. If
anybody knows of any reports from that county, please let me know.
Happy Independence Day to all!!!!
And, of course, good holiday birding,
Bruce H. Anderson
Winter Park, FL