5 Wild Horse Trail
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
BackyRd in rural setting. Feeder 20' from house
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
The bird was first observed at 10:30 am from a distance of 60' without binoculars. When I returned with my 10x42 Zeiss binoculars it was at the feeder 25' away. The bird in the area for approximately an hour, but only observed for a total of approximately 10 minutes. Ground was snow covered. It was calm and clear. In the feeder the bird was in the shade, but seen in full sun when on the ground and perched in a lilac.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, later the same day
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
Natl. Geo. Field Guide 6th edition
Sibley Guide to Birds
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
This bird was a Capodacus finch. Initial reaction was how overall red this bird was and how visible and bright red the uppertail coverts were.
First thought CAFI, but closer looks led me to PUFI. As Peterson said it's like a sparrow dipped in raspberry. Upper tail coverts were bright red and visible when seen from the side. Undertail coverts white. Sides streaked ochre to white undertail. Undertail unstreaked. Well defined chocolate/raspberry auricular creating a bold face pattern. Supercillium and submoustachial stripe were pinkish. Back streaked brownish with raspberry hues. Cap red. Tail notched and similar to back in color. Throat and Chest raspberry with slight brown flecks.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Bird initially seen in in the top of a 25' willow. I saw a red finch and grabbed my 10x42 Zeiss binoculars. It flew down to an elevated feeder 20' from the window. It fed on black oil sunflower seeds for just a few seconds. The bird was very skittish. It repeated this quick feeding and leaving several times. I did not see where it left to , but when it returned it would at first land in a nearby lilac before going to the feeder. There were Black capped Chickadees, Darl eyed Juncos and Norther Flickers actively feeding and the finch only fed when the feeder was empty. I observed it on the ground briefly, but it was not feeding. Behavior of note is how skittish it was.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
My memory of Cassins Finch is not as extensive red color on the breast and it lacks that overall dipped in raspberry feel. The upper tail coverts of Cassins are not as visible as on Purple Finch. I submitted this sighting with photos to ebird and it was accepted. I also sent Charles Swift and Jon Isacoff my sighting with photos and they both agreed that my identification was correct.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
I knew immediately it was not a House Finch and initially thought it was a Cassins Finch. According to Nat. Geographic Cassins Finch has streaked undertail coverts and the throats and breast are paler.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I am very familiar with House Finch. It is the common feeder finch that I have seen my entire life. Cassins Finch is a yearly visitor to my feeders. Observed a few times a year. I am not very familiar with Purple Finch, but my familiarity with the other 2 .
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding for 40 years and consider myself close to an expert birder.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
Reported to ebird and Jon Isacoff and Charles Swift on Jan.29,2017. This report prepared on 2/917
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Photos look good for Purple Finch.
Well described - eliminated similar Cassin's Finch
Would have preferred a better discussion of how the observer separated from similar Haemorhous finches as well as an expanded description of this bird’s structure. However, description good enough, and diagnostic photos, lead me to “accept”.
The photos were convincing that this was an adult male Purple Finch.
diagnostic pics & key fieldmarks noted
Description and photographs eliminate similar finch species.
I guess I should stick with my original diagnosis and the bird still looks pretty good for a PUFI to me, including the lack of eye arcs which we have learned are pretty good indicator for distinguishing from CAFI.