There are over 1200 species world wide and about 200 in the United States.
The characteristics of these birds is that they have cone-shaped beaks, a sharp angle at the back of each foot, 12 feathers in the tail, and nine feathers in the front portion on their wings.
There are small bristles at the corners of their mouths.
These birds are mostly seed eating, and mostly eat the seed of weeds.
So finches are very helpful birds.
The bills of these birds are made for cracking seeds, and they come in three types: (1) Large and thick, like on the grosbeak; (2) canary like; or (3) cross-tipped, as in the case of the cross-bill.
The order is Passeres, the suborder is Oscines, and the family is Fringillidae, although it has recently been split out into Fringillidae, Emberizidae, and Cardinalidae.
Perhaps the most widely known of the finches is the Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis.
It also goes by the name of Northern Cardinal, Cardinal Grosbeak, Redbird, Crested Redbird, Virginia Redbird, Virginia Nightingale, Virginia Cardinal, and Kentucky Cardinal.
No one can mistake the bright red feathers and pointed crest of this bird.
It is the namesake of the St.
Louis professional baseball team and is the state bird of seven states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Some even have called it FFV - that is one of the members of the first families of Virginia.
The male is all red, with a black patch at the base of its heavy triangular bill.
The female is buff brown, with red at the tip of the crest and at the tail.
Both are between 7 inches and 8 inches in length.
Cardinals are well-like because male and female work together as a team in rearing their young.
In the winter, feed this bird black sunflower seed, a high-fat nutritious seed.
Its diet also consists of the Rocky Mountain locust, cicadas, Colorado potato beetle, rose chafer, cotton worm, plum or cherry scale, the zebra caterpillar of cabbage, the cucumber beetles, billbugs, locust flea-beetles, corn ear worms, cotton cutworm, southern fig eater, codling moth, and boll weevil.
It also eats the seeds of a great many weeds.