Monday, February 2, 2015

Purple Finches (Carpodacus purpureus): Welcome Back!… And All Your Kids Too!

February 2nd, 2015. We first saw the Purple Finches (Carpodacus purpureus) this season on November 18th, 2014. 

Just a couple of males turned up at the sunflower seed feeder during a couple of particularly cold days.

I’d never seen a female Purple Finch. The problem with sighting ‘female’ Purple Finches is that they are indistinguishable from juvenile Purple Finches. On December 10th, 2014, a female/juvenile visited the sunflower feeder with a male. 

Then I’d see the female/juveniles come to the sunflower feeder alone, or…

in twos, or… 

more. There are five female/juveniles and a male in this photo (and also an American Goldfinch). 

The Purple Finches seem to be more numerous this year than in previous years. I’ve seen as many as eight female/juveniles on the feeder at one time and a total of 11 female/juveniles at one time either on the feeder or on the ground. The maximum number of males I’ve seen in the feeding area is six. Purple Finches tend to visit the feeding area in larger numbers on windy days than on calmer days. 

The Purple Finches are generally peaceful although I’ve seen the occasional squabble when there are a lot of birds competing for a perch at the feeder. They will sit at the feeder and eat for a considerable period of time. 

They will also ‘share’ the feeder with other birds: with a Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis); and with a female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis).
It is encouraging to see so many Purple Finches this season.


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