Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2016-02

Common name:

Purple Finch (Eastern)

Scientific name: Haemorhous purpureus purpureus
Date: 1/16/16
Time: 9:30 am
Length of time observed: 10 min
Number: 1
Age: Female / 1st year male (plumage identical)
Sex: Female / 1st year male (plumage identical)
Location: Lytle Ranch
County: Washington
Latilong: (37.0933, -113.9493)
Elevation: 2800 ft
Distance to bird: 25 feet
Optical equipment: Pentax 8x43 ED binoculars
Weather: Partially Sunny
Light Conditions: Great clear morning light
Description:        Size of bird: About the same size as a Cassin's Finch~ 6"
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Stocky finch shape, thicker than a House Finch
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Brown upperparts with brown streaked white underparts
(Description:)            Bill Type: Triangular pointed finch shaped bill, thicker than a Cassin's or House Finch bill.
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
We found 3 Haemorhous finches feeding in an ash tree- a male and female-type pair of Cassin's Finches and paler female-type Eastern Purple Finch the less likely Purple Finch subspecies in Utah. The bird lacked an eye ring or eye arcs and had a strongly marked face with a slight crest. Bill was thicker than a Cassin's Finch and the back was browner with many short thick streaks on the belly rather than the crisp streaking of a Cassin's Finch. The underparts were unstreaked unlike a Cassin's Finch.
(see photos)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard.
Behavior: Feeding in a Velvety Ash tree with 2 Cassin's Finches.
Habitat: Riparian mojave desert.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
Cassin's Finch has a less boldly patterned face with eye rings and arcs, a thinner bill, crisp streaks on the belly and streaked undertail coverts.

Pacific Purple Finch has a greener color, a more curved culmen, weakly patterned face, longer blurry streaking on the belly, a shorter primary projection and streaked undertail coverts.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
I am very familar with this species from living in Western NY. Also very familiar with Cassin's Finches. Had extensive study of the female type Pacific Purple Finch that was present at Lytle Ranch twice last year.
References consulted: Sibley's 2nd edition, National Geographic 6th edition
Description from: From photo(s) taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kenny Frisch
Observer's address: 4609 S Wallace Ln Holladay, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Tim Avery and Nate Brown
Date prepared: 1/27/16
Additional material: Photos
Additional_Comments: .