Friday, March 21, 2014

At The Feeders: Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus/Carpodacus purpureus*)

March 21st, 2014. We installed a tube feeders (one with mixed seed and one with sunflower seed), a platform feeder and two log feeders in mid-December, 2013.

We saw the first Purple Finches on January 4th this year. We usually see Purple Finches during the Winter. They feed only at the tube feeder filled only with sunflower seeds…
where they routinely fed with the American Goldfinches. 
They ‘eat in,’ sitting at the feeder and discarding the seed hulls.

The Purple Finch is one of two species of finch with red coloring that occur in this area; the other is the House Finch (Haemorhous/Carpodacus mexicanus). The House Finch is resident year-round; the Purple Finch winters in this area and flies north to breed. These species may be confused; a reference web page for differentiating between the two species may be found here. 

We saw at least two Purple finches this year based on seeing them on the feeder at the same time. In previous years, we’ve often seen more than two. The last date we sighted a Purple Finch at the feeder was on March 4th; they must have started moving north for the Summer. Interestingly, we have never seen a House Finch at our feeders.  

Identification resource: 
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS): Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus)  

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