Thursday, November 4, 2010

Purple Finch Sightings!!

We are all used to seeing lots of House Finches at our feeders but have you noticed some that don't look quite right?

These may be Purple Finches. I find the female of Purple Finches and House Finches easy to tell apart. The female Purple Finch appears much darker and on closer look she has much darker streaks on her breast and her head is patterned with brown and white. House Finches have a lightly notched tail while Purple Finch have a deeply notched tail.

Now for the hard part! The males! Male Purple Finch are said to have Red or Rose tinting their entire body with extensive color on the back of their head. His back is finely streaked with a faint pink wash. The House Finch has most of its color (more orange red than rosy red) on the top of its head and on its breast. Its flanks are heavily streaked. The best way to learn the difference is to see both together. It looks like this year is a great one to learn the differences.

Below are photos of female Purple House Finches:

Marilyn Patterson