If you feed the birds or have been out and about looking at birds on Cape Cod this weekend you may have seen a purple finch or two or three. Some people have even been seeing flights of hundreds! I myself have about 20 in my yard in Hyannis even as I write this.
My photos are a bit blurry because they are taken through a window with a screen but they will give you an idea.
This is the first female I saw. Purple finches used to be common here but have been more or less pushed out by house finches. These days, spotting a purple finch on your feeder can be very exciting. Except for when it’s not, like right now when everyone and their neighbor has a purple finch at the feeder…
Purple finches and house finches look rather similar so check your bird book or Cornell’s All About Bird Page for Purple Finches to see the differences. The females are more heavily marked, especially on the head where you can see the dark cheeks and eye line.
The male is pretty rosy, with the pink going right down his chest and on his rump as well. also note the marked notch in the tail.
Have you been seeing these at your feeders? Keep count and notes as there are people collecting information. Most of these birds seem to be migrating through. Will some stay for the winter like the red breasted nuthatches did a few years ago? Who knows? For now, anyway, they sure are fun to see!