The Purple Finch Mating Habits

Different species of male birds have different styles of wooing females. This is quite evident during the mating season when males show off to prospective mates. They need to display what they got to win the approval of a female bird.

As for the purple finches, they have a monogamous mating system with pairs becoming solitary during the breeding season. They breed during summer in southern Canada and in winter in the U.S. If the winter is mild, there’s a great chance you will see them all year round.

During courtship, the male will usually hop and sing when a female bird is around. By the start of May, the male purple finch is in love that he will sing joyous music from the elm or evergreen trees. His full and rich song somewhat resembles that of the robins’ love song but is more rapid and varied. With his chest puffed out and tail cocked, he may hop from six to 12 inches high to get the attention of a female bird.

If there’s stiff competition among the male purple finches, there’s bound to be some pecking just like when claiming their respective territories. The males and females show aggressive behavior toward both sexes.

During nesting time, the male contributes to finding appropriate nesting materials which he gives to the female. The female is in charge of selecting good materials for her nest. She prefers twigs and grass stems for the exterior and hair, fine rootlets, beard lichen and sometimes, sheep’s wool for the inner lining of the nest. Purple finches tend to choose sites close to humans during nesting time.

On average, a female purple finch lays five blue eggs with some black spots. Egg-laying happens by late May or early June which is why they earned the name late nesters. During the incubation period, the male is devoted to his mate and is responsible for feeding the female and eventually for their young when the eggs have hatched.

When they are done with their parental duties, the purple finches depart from their nests situated in lawns and gardens and join flocks of their own kind to more remote orchards or woods.

From 1966 to 1994, a 50 percent decline was noted in the breeding population of purple finches in the northeastern part of the U.S. and in southern Canada. The numbers normally decrease in the northern areas as winter approaches.


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