Jane’s Deck of Birds – Purple Finch

Purple finches are delightful birds that we are able to enjoy during the winter months… most years.  They can move erratically from year to year, but this year they have been regular visitors to the GTA.

Male Purple Finch

Roger Tory Peterson described the male as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice”.  Females and first-year males have brown heads with a white eyebrow, white breasts with dark streaks, a streaked back over white under parts, and thin white wing bars.  The males do not get the raspberry colour until their second year.

Photo Credit – Robin Arnold (Female Purple Finch)

Some people confuse the Purple Finch with the House Finch.  House Finches visit our back yards year round.  They are slightly smaller than the Purple Finch and have a brown cap, red forehead, breast and rump.  The female House Finch looks more like a sparrow with fewer streaks on her breast than the female Purple Finch.
These finches nest just south of the northern boreal forest.  Their nests are shallow cups made with twigs, strips of bark, small roots,  and lined with grass and hair.  They usually build their nests in evergreens or shrubs, 5 to 60 feet above the ground.  Three to five eggs are laid.  Purple Finches have a lovely rich warbling song during mating season.  They will even add sounds of other species which include Eastern Towhees, Gold Finches, Barn Swallows and Brown Headed Cowbirds.

Purple Finches have large seed cracking beaks and will come to feeders that offer black oil sunflower seed.  I have seen them at hopper, tube and ground feeders.  If you have any of these feeder types, you’ll be sure to see them.  The oldest recorded Purple Finch was a male that lived until the age of 14.

Purple Finch Calls

@Urban Nature Store we have a different variety of feeders, seeds, jewelry, outdoor equipment and holiday gifts for all nature lovers and for all ages. 
Bird of the week – Purple Finch – check out finches products

Happy Holidays and Happy Birding!

Author – Jane Paradis

Editor- Daniel Oommen

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