Purple FinchDecember 2009

  A purple finch is somewhat larger than either a goldfinch or a house finch. Of course, one doesn't usually have access to a ruler to measure any bird while walking around outside.

Purple finches are a native species of the eastern United States, whereas house finches were introduced from the Southwest. Purple finches look like house finches, but there are a few clear differences. The female below has a broad stripe across her face, whereas the female house finch has a more solid face.

Female purple finch
  I occasionally run across purple finches in the game land, but I haven't noticed any at our feeders. The male below (somewhat obscured) is enjoying a few dark berries (in February) that the birds tend to leave until there is nothing else.
Male purple finch
  The difference between a male purple finch and a male house finch is a matter of degree. The purple finch's "purple" is more pervasive than the color of a male house finch. The head of a purple finch has almost a solid color, whereas the house finch has some brown mixed in.

Whether they're a purple or a house finch, finches are fun to watch. The female below seems to be doing a leap of joy.

Female purple finch leaping
  Photo note: For the first two photos (taken this year), in State College, I used the Pentax K200D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens, and for the third photo, I used the Pentax *1st D, also with the 1000mm.

Pennsylvania bird list

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