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Hilton Jr., B. 1994. Carpodacus finches in South Carolina's Piedmont: Migration, site fidelity, sex ratios, and longevity. North American Bird Bander 19(1):1-11.

House Finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), which were introduced to New York City from the West in 1940-1941, now breed commonly in many eastern states and occur in winter at bird feeders with Purple Finches (C. purpureus). In South Carolina, Purple Finches are migrants, but House Finches are both resident and migrant.

Of 1,843 House Finches banded from 1967-1987 in South Carolina, 88% (n=1,622) were captured at Hilton Pond near York, SC; the York birds--plus an additional 406 House Finches banded there from 1988 through June 1990--showed an approximate 1:1 ratio of males to females. The 976 House Finches banded at Hilton Pond in the winter of 1983-1984 may have represented the southernmost large concentration of the species up to that time. Migrant House Finches begin arriving at York in late October and depart in late March; an influx of local resident (breeding) House Finches since 1988 now complicates studies of winter migration patterns. Recoveries and recaptures of House Finches from York indicate some birds banded there in winter may follow a narrow migrational flyway along the Piedmont physiographic province and breed in Mid-Atlantic and New England states or eastern Canada. Banding encounters also indicate an overlap of ranges for migrant and resident birds; i.e., several eastern "populations" of House Finches apparently exist.

Migrant Purple Finches arrive at Hilton Pond 1-2 months after the first House Finches and stay as late as the end of June. They, like House Finches, apparently follow a Piedmont flyway. About one-fourth (n=749) of 2,702 Purple Finches banded from 1982 through June 1990 at York were red males in the second year or older (After-Hatch-Year/After-Second-Year); the remainder (n=1,953) were brown birds that could have been young males, or females of any age. Twenty-six "old" Purple Finches originally banded at York returned in the winter of 1989-1990, including 15 birds at least five years old.

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.