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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Purple Finch

Purple Finch male bottom right, Purple Finch female, bottom left

Purple Finch male

Purple Finches have recently showed up at our feeders, as they seem to this time of year. We do not see them in winter, but they are here in spring, summer and fall. We keep a daily journal record of the birds we see on our property, and it is so interesting to see the same phenomena happening at the same time each year. Keeping the journal makes us tune in to the seasonal rhythms of nature.
Purple Finches are lovely birds, the male with his raspberry red wash. The more subtle female has a white eyebrow, a nice clue to tell her apart from the similar looking female House Finch. One trick to tell the male Purple Finch from the male House Finch is to look at their flanks. The male Purple Finch has very little streaking there, the male House Finch is noticeably more streaked. You can learn a lot about birds, just by watching your feeders.

Photos © Lillian Stokes, 2007

4 comments:

Iris said...

Thank you for posting these terrific photos! I'm still a relatively novice birder and have been frustrated by my inability to discern this bird from the House Finch, and until today hadn't found satisfactory photos to show me the difference. After seeing your photos I realize that I have yet to see a Purple Finch. Another goal to meet!

Liza Lee Miller said...

They are lovely birds. I get the occasionally at my feeders in the winter. They should be called Raspberry Finches. Your pictures are lovely!

Lillian and Don Stokes said...

Glad to be of help. Many people think House Finches are Purple finches. You need to look closely to distinguish them, and the amount or shade of red on the males is not always a help. Where we are in NH, Purple Finches are more common on our rural property, House Finches are rare and more likely to be seen in the towns.

Dancer in DC said...

Thanks for the nice pictures! We just saw our first male Purple Finch at our bird feeder, and he certainly is brilliant to look at. I agree with Liza - let's call them Raspberry Finches!