Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2015-06

Common name:

Purple Finch

Scientific name: Haemorhous purpureus californicus
Date: January 07, 2015
Time: 1530
Length of time observed: several times for a few minutes over a couple hours
Number: 1
Age: female/ immature male
Sex: adult female / immature male
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Latilong: 19
Elevation: ~ 850 m
Distance to bird: 5 m
Optical equipment: 8 x 42 binoculars
Weather: clear
Light Conditions: bright sunlight
Description:        Size of bird:  
(Description:)       Basic Shape:  
(Description:)  Overall Pattern:  
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Immature male/ female type.
The finch was feeding on pomegranates in the bushes adjacent to the parking area, primarily in the large pomegranate bush immediately behind the marble 'Lytle Ranch' sign. It was very sneaky for a finch, and was incredibly hard to photograph as it skulked in the bushes. I observed it for a few minutes, four different times over a couple hours. Each time it was in the pomegranates briefly and then would sneak out the back side. I never saw it fly back in, but it somehow re-appeared back in the middle of the bush every 20 minutes or so.

Slightly larger and more robust than House Finches. Brownish overall, with greenish olive tint to upperparts, crown, nape, mantle, wings (scapulars and secondaries), rump, and upperside of tail. Head brownish with white supercilium, prominent behind eye, buffy white malar stripe, no eye-ring. Underparts with dense, dark brown indistinct streaking on a buffy background; most dense on throat and upper breast, more sparse towards lower belly, with a few thin distinct streaks on undertail coverts. Wings with short primary projection. Stout, dark bill, with curved culmen.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: none heard
Behavior: Very skulky, eating pomegranites.
Habitat: plantings adjacent to desert riparian / stream
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Female type Cassin s Finch has distinct eye-ring, underparts with more defined streaking on cleaner background, more contrast on upperparts (particularly more contrasting streaking on mantle), long primary pojection, and larger bill with straight culmen. Some Cassin s Finches can have greenish cast, but not as extensive and not on secondaries.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Rick Fridell
Observer's address: Hurricane, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: subsequently observed by many individuals
Date prepared: 01-25-2015
Additional material: Photos