Friday, August 21, 2015

Purple Finch at Julian

One form of Purple Finch breeds across the boreal forests of Canada and into the NE U.S. and winters in Eastern U.S. Another form is a resident down the Cascades and Sierra-Nevadas from southern British Columbia to mountains in extreme southern California. They prefer conifer and mixed forests. I don't know why they don't like the Rocky Mountains.

Purple Finch
Purple Finch. Julian, California. July 3, 2015. Greg Gillson.
As you can see, Purple finches are not purple, but red, paler pink on the breast. The back and wings are brownish, tending toward olivaceous (a dark greenish). They are similar to Cassin's Finches (which are found in mountain pine forests and do like the Rocky Mountains). They are also similar to House Finches that are common feeder birds in towns and lowlands. House Finches have the brighter red more concentrated on the forehead, rump, and upper chest. The lower belly of House Finches are whiter with brown stripes.

Purple Finch

This Purple Finch was photographed at a water feature near our inn in Julian last month. They are found in the higher wooded mountain areas of San Diego County which divide the county in half in a general northwest to southeast manner.

Purple Finch

Purple Finches sing a cheerful, sweet, rollicking song to match the bright coloration of the males. Females are brown striped--really pretty much as the male but with no red hue at all.