About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The difference was between the House Finch and the Purple Finch

Today I’ve been watching a lot of babies at the feeders. A House Finch visited the window feeder all day with its baby. The baby jumped up and down and flapped his wings in front of the dad with its mouth wide open but the dad refused to give in and feed him. By the end of the day the kid finally gave up and picked up some seed he was doing his little “feed me” dance in and fed himself. Success!

As I showed customers the House Finch drama throughout the day, people kept asking what the difference was between the House Finch and the Purple Finch.

Fun Facts
The House Finch has not always been found in the eastern United States. In 1940, they were illegally captured in California and imported to New York by pet dealers. Fearing prosecution, the dealers released their “Hollywood Finches” on Long Island in 1940. Since then the finches have spread to all corners of the east and have even rejoined their relatives in the west.

House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus are a familiar sight in mid-Michigan today. These 6″, talkative little birds get their name from their habit of hanging around houses. They build their nests in the hanging baskets, wreaths, or in trees, and their cheery warble or a variety of chirps is a constant around the bird feeders. The amount of red the finch has can vary depending on the amount of carotenoid pigments consumed in its food during molt. They have slight white wing bands, a brownish red head with a pink chest that has brown streaking. They also appear to have a sleek body and stand tall.

Purple Finches Carpodacus purpureus are not really drawn to human dwellings, preferring wooded areas and nesting high up in conifer trees. The males have a slight crest on their head and a lighter red above the eye and the females have a white eyebrow. The males’ chests are streaked with pink as well as a little brown. The Purple Finch is actually about 6” too but looks more compact or chubbier, with its legs bent close to the body.

Related Articles:
- House Finches: Those Year-round Red Heads http://bit.ly/oOPJYR  
- Where do you place finch feeders? http://bit.ly/qr78Dd
- How to have more colorful birds at your feeder http://bit.ly/rT5Hfj
- Why male and females are a different color http://bit.ly/ueILUf
- Remove all winter wreaths before finches begin nesting in them http://goo.gl/OeyOS

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