Sunday, December 9, 2007

Purple Finches!

The snow of yesterday has given way to a dripping landscape. The creeks run muddy brown--runoff from the fields added to a day's rain. Not a good day to be out. So, resigned to observing from behind glass, and determined to make the best of a day at home, I sit looking out, puttering at online shopping, making soup and catching a few glances at the feeders.

There's nothing more intimidating to a beginning birder, than knowing you're looking at a bird that is easily confused with another in appearance. And comparative descriptions only work if both are sitting side by side. Helpful hints like, more stout, shorter bill, larger head, ...are code for, "be careful what you call this."
So, imagine my appreciation for a finch tutorial like this from Cornell's Project Feeder Watch.
And birds that agreed to sit side by side!


Purple Finch and House Finch, both males


Purple Finch, male


Purple Finch, females


American Goldfinch and female Purple Finch


Purple Finch, male

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11 comments:

Marvin said...

Thanks for the finches. Great photos for comparison.

mon@rch said...

It is always great seeing the purple finch! Great photos for sure!

Mary said...

I, as a beginning birder, truly appreciate this. I've made so many mistakes... I claimed to have seen a male purple finch twice in 12 months and was dead wrong both times.

Your bird photos are great, Nina!

MojoMan said...

Once again, you're in the right place at the right time with the camera at the ready!

nina said...

Oh, Mary!
I sweat every time I see a comment. But so far, I think this must really be the bird I want it to be.

T.R. said...

Just got my "beginning birder" purple finches on Friday. Actually, it was just before a big storm was forecast and I went from not having any birds in weeks to something like 17 species arriving within 15 minutes. I got two lifers and 10 new yard birds. And they were all gone as fast as they came (following a huge flock of 200+ robins). It was also my first Feeder Watch day submission day and I am sure I've given the wrong impression of my little backyard. I was wringing my hands calling them purple finches until a couple of swell male house finches came along to help out - there was no comparison when viewed side by side!

Crayons said...

Nina,
Thank you so much for these photos! I am a pre-beginning birder -- I only know cardinals and jays, and about 20 other basics. I'm so intimidated by "real" birders, so I miss out on the chance to learn. I'm glad you enjoyed the day.

RuthieJ said...

Excellent photos, Nina! I'm glad your purple finches were so cooperative. I do OK with ID'ing the females because of the white "eyebrow", but the males are less frequent visitors at my place and I still struggle with them.

KGMom said...

Love that last photo of the purple finch, male.

Tom said...

Nice photo's. Very nice blog!

Kerri said...

Great shots.....we have house finches which still look a bit purple but are not purple finch. And lots of goldfinch.

Love that top shot of the branch with the ice and raindrop....and those lovely brown leaves in the background. I posted something very similar a few days ago :)