The Purple Finch is a
common visitor on Vancouver Island.
A member of the finch
family, the Purple Finch is closely related to the House Finch and Cassin's
Finch. The Purple Finch is a medium sized finch, measuring in at 12 to 15 cm,
with a wingspan of 22 to 26 cm. The male Purple Finch is basically
colored on the head and chest while the female has the duller color of
brown. The maleís lower belly is white and unmarked. It also has a dark face
patch. The female, on the other hand, has strong streaking (brown and gray) on
its back, sides, and chest. It has a pale eye stripe and dark ear patch. Its
underbelly is also white but with some streaks. The juvenile Purple Finch looks
just like the adult female.
The Purple Finch has a short tail which is notched. Its bill is straight,
although not as straight as that of the Cassinís Finch.
The Purple Finch prefers
to inhabit coniferous forests and mixed forests in the lowlands. They are in
competition with the House Finch so they avoid the more heavily populated urban
areas. They can be found in rural residential areas.
The Purple Finch builds its nest on a horizontal branch of a coniferous tree,
usually at some distance from the trunk. It also nests in a fork in a tree. The
nest is shaped like an open cup and is made up of rootlets, twigs, and weeds.
For the lining, materials such as grass, hair, and moss are used. It is the
female bird which builds the nest.
The male Purple Finch excerpts a lot of effort to attract the female during mating
season. It executes a series of hops and does a lot of singing. It may hop as
high as 12 inches into the air and puffs out its chest and cocks its tail while
The Purple Finchís diet
consists mainly of seeds and insects. It also forages along the ground and in
foliage to find buds of trees and weeds. It also eats berries and small fruits.
When building a feeder, make sure you have an ample supply of sunflower seeds
and millet. The Purple Finch loves these seeds.