House finch with no tail visits feeder

Photo by Chris Bosak A house finch without tail feathers visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., January 2019.

I noticed right away that this bird looked different. How can you not notice a bird without a tail?

This house finch has been visiting my feeders (Nyjer and sunflower seeds) for a few days now. Any variety of things could account for his missing tail, but the most likely reason is a close encounter with a predator (cat, hawk, fox, etc.)

I’ve seen house finches with avian conjunctivitis and I even had one get its head stuck in a tube feeder, but I’ve never seen a tail-less house finch before this. Not to worry, though, the feathers will grow back soon.

For the sake of comparison, here’s a “normal” house finch.

Photo by Chris Bosak A House Finch eats buds from a bush in Norwalk, Conn., Feb. 2015.