Hillman, Michigan: Finch City

The weekend brought wonderful bird watching to our Long Lake feeders. We had red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, nuthatches and mourning doves galore at the feeder. And, hoards of finches. At the sunflower seed feeder above there are three goldfinches, one male purple finch (that’s the red guy) and three female purple finches (they are the mottled brown ones with the white streaks and white tracings around their eyes).

Cornell’s ornithology site has detailed info on purple finches. Here’s what they sound like. Purple finches are often confused with their look-alike, the house finch. But I think we’ve definitely got the purple finch ID’d here because this guy is surrounded by the females┬áthat make him easier to identify. The purple finch sighting was a special treat because this was the first time we’ve seen them at our feeder. Their migration is irruptive, which means that it doesn’t follow a seasonal or geographically predictable path. Some years you’ll see them and some years you won’t. For five years, until now, it’s been a won’t.