two, possibly three; one was an immature male, another was an immature male or female
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
Carl Lundblad observed a Purple Finch in the same immediate area on 20 Dec. 2017.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
On the northern side of the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden in Moscow, Idaho at 46.722529, -117.015364.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Feeding in a Forsythia (I think) row, near the crabapple trees.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
I observed the birds at a distance of 20-30 feet for a few minutes. During that time I noted their unique calls and took several pictures with my Canon SX60 HS camera. The light was good - the sun was out and behind me. Temperatures were warm for January - perhaps around freezing.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, later the same day
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
I took several good photos. Female-type Haemorhous finches; large heads relative to House Finch; well-defined facial patterns; no eye-rings, unlike Cassin's; streaks not as crisp at Cassin's but fairly defined; greenish coloring on back, sides, and wings of immature male, as well as some faint red streaking
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Feeding on Forsythia (I think) in a group of House Finches. Calls were short 'pik' notes. The two Purple Finches were feeding close to one another, and stayed together after several House Finches flew. Just before flying, what looked like a possible third Purple Finch emerged from the interior of the Forsythia row, but immediately flew with the two Purple Finches before I got a picture or good look at it.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I immediately recognized these birds as Purple Finches, due to their calls, coloring, and shape. I spent quite a while observing and photographing two Purple Finches at this same location two years ago, so I was familiar with the species and how to distinguish it from House and Cassin's Finches.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
Large heads, well-defined facial pattern, and most importantly, their call, helped me eliminate House Finch. The lack of eye rings, blurry streaking, and call helped me eliminate Cassin's Finch.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I spent quite a while observing and photographing two Purple Finches at this same location two years ago, so I was familiar with the species and how to distinguish it from House and Cassin's Finches.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I've birded weekly for the past five years. Most of my birding is done in Latah county, Idaho.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Description and photos support identification of Purple Finch.
Well described - several good photos
Diagnostic photos and good description including some structural details, plumage, and distinctive calls. In addition, the photos show additional structural details like bill shape and shorter primary projection (relative to CAFI).
I don't know how many of the two PUFIs mentioned in the report are represented in this very nice photo series, but I think the identification of PUFI was correct for at least the one (or two) of them that were photographed.
Well documented and good photos (although the 3rd photo down has a beak profile that makes me think Cassin's - hard to judge the underside or primary projection on this photo - but the rest look good for Purple)
Great photos show the curved culmen and distinctive facial pattern.
Reasonable description noting a few of the key field marks, plus diagnostic photos. In addition, the photos indicate these were likely “Pacific” Purple Finches (Haemorhous purpureus californicus) for the record. Good birds.