About The Purple Finch
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 – 15 cm (5 -6 in), with a wingspan of 22 – 26 cm (9 – 10 in), and a weight of 18 – 31 grams. The male Purple Finch is basically raspberry-colored on the head and chest while the female has the duller color of brown. The male’s 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 Cassin’s Finch.
The Purple Finch Nesting Preferences
The Purple Finch prefers to inhabit coniferous forests and mixed forests in the lowlands. They are in intense 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.
Building a Birdhouse For The Purple Finch
The suggested dimensions for a Purple Finch birdhouse is as follow: floor area of 4” x 4” or 5” x 5”; a height of 9 – 12 inches; a hole with 1 ½” diameter. The hole should be 5 – 7 inches above the floor.
The Purple Finch Mating Habits
The male Purple Finch exerts 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 doing so.
The Purple Finch Feeding Preferences
The Purple Finch’s 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 and can consume a surprisingly large amount!
Interesting Purple Finch Facts
- The Purple Finch population has declined sharply in the East due to the House Finch. Most of the time, when these two species collide, the House Finch wins over the Purple Finch.
- There are two subspecies of the Purple Finch. One is found in the Pacific Coast while the other is found in the East. The Pacific Coast Purple Finch is more common and has duller colors.