From Birding

Lifebirds #15 and #16 – Finches at Feeders

Species  American Goldfinch / Spinus tristis
Where Home, Little Canada, MN
When October 2003
Who Joann
Number 15

 
American Goldfinch pairI had feeders up for a long time before I attracted my first American Goldfinches. Once they showed up, though, they never left. Not the same individuals, of course, but it’s a rare day now—any time of year—when these little yellow jobs can’t be found hanging around for the easy pickings. They nest in our yard every year now, and we get to watch the males change from drab barely-yellow (similar to the female in this photo) to their bright-yellow breeding plumage.

Species  Purple Finch / Carpodacus purpureus
Where Home, Little Canada, MN
When October 2003
Who Joann
Number 16

 
The Purple Finch was a bit of a puzzle for Joann and me in our earliest days as feeder watchers. For awhile the only guide we used was Janssen, Tessen, and Kennedy’s Birds of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and though we are still fond of it, it is limited as a field guide. It wasn’t until we saw our first female Purple Finches in the company of males that were able to confidently separate this species from the more common House Finch. I took the photos below at our feeders. The first photo is of a female (and couldn’t possibly be confused with a female House Finch); the second is a male.
A female Purple Finch
A male Purple Finch

See lifebird index.