Ever since I saw my first male House Finch, I’ve wanted to see a Purple Finch. The male Purple Finch is a deep purple-red and so pretty! Purple Finches don’t tend to visit Central Florida, so I haven’t had an opportunity to see one. But this year is an irruption year. When I saw eBird reports at Chinsegut in Brooksville, I immediately hopped in the car. I wasn’t disappointed!
Chinsegut is a great little conservation center tucked into a wildlife environmental area. I’d been there one before, when Dyeyo and I were on a quest to see Red-headed Woodpeckers. Behind the nature center, there’s a porch surrounded by bird feeders. The Purple Finch has been coming to the feeders for the past few weeks. I spotted her within a few minutes of arriving.
The eBird reports mentioned one female Purple Finch. A photo uploaded to eBird showed a male and female together on a feeder. I watched carefully for a male, but I didn’t see one. But I did get a surprise when not one, but three females came together to the feeder. Apparently Purple Finches are as good as their House Finch cousins at squabbling over feeder ports…
Then the House Finches joined the feeder party. They provided a fun contrast to the Purple Finches. Below is a pair of House finches. See how the House Finch female is a bit paler than the Purple Finch female?
A few minutes later, I had a pair of male House Finches on the feeder (below). The one on the right is the standard bright-red male. The one on the left is a yellow variant. The male House Finch’s color is dependent on his food during his molt periods. If he eats carotenoid-rich foods, he turns a darker red. Apparently the female prefers to mate with the brightest red male she can find!
If you want to tempt House Finches to your backyard feeders, just put out some black oil sunflower seed. You might even get lucky and get a visiting Purple Finch this winter!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Chinsegut?
Check out my Chinsegut page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!