Blackberry thickets, like this one in my neighborhood, are numerous across western Oregon. Though they produce delicious berries and make a good shelter for small birds, they are very invasive and difficult to remove.
On a walk yesterday I first noticed this bird hiding in the thicket. I thought it was some type of sparrow at first, until I saw another one.
This is a male house finch, and the bird in the previous photo is a female house finch. Interestingly, the males acquire their red coloring through their diet.
According to Birds of the Willamette Valley Region by Harry Nehls, Tom Aversa, and Hal Opperman, House Finches spread into our area in the 1940’s as human development spread. This one let me get pretty close to him before he flew further into the blackberries.
The finches were joined by this Dark-eyed Junco.
I am amazed at how these birds fly around these thorny canes and land on them without hurting themselves. I seem to get cut every time I touch this plant.