Three days ago, I watched an odd looking (female) House Finch: it had a beard.
These finches like seeds and initially I thought that it had one of those fluffy seeds such as those of a dandelion or a cottonwood. But that could not be right; their availability is still months off.
Today, I watched the bearded finch on a different tree, but at the same place. What was going on?
The clue to its behaviour lay beneath an adjacent home: insulation. In building its nest, the House Finch uses stems, leaves, rootlets, and thin twigs, but chooses finer materials for a lining. Our bird had discovered some home insulation it thought was ideal for a nest lining.