Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus)

16 March

Peterson, he of field guide fame, described this bird as a “sparrow dipped in raspberry juice”. Not a common visitor to feeders but this chap dropped by for a snack. That big beak is oideally suited to cracking open the black sunflower seeds he is tucking into. He’ll probably be heading further north to breed in the boreal forests. As a species they have been declining in numbers in recent years, possibly because of habitat and climate changes that affect almost all birds but also because they appear to being moved on by House Finches that are becoming more established around here.

Here is the rather less colourful female: