There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Purple Finch

Carpodacus purpureus

Medium-sized finch
Large, conical bill
Short, forked tail

Purplish-red head, breast, back and rump
Streaked back
Brown wings and tail
Whitish belly

Brown upperparts
Heavily streaked underparts
Dark whisker
Whitish eyebrow

Listen to its song.

A number of times in the past, I have taken photos of a House Finch thinking it was a Purple Finch. Someone told me that the bill was the key field marker; the upper mandible of the former curves downward while the latter has a conical bill. Apparently, it isn't that difficult to tell them apart. Well, I'm not sure if that is entirely true (at least not for me) but, when I saw this bird at my feeder this morning, I was pretty sure I had a winner. The head and foreparts are more uniformly washed with red than the ones I've seen in the past anyway.

Learn more about the Purple Finch.

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