|Male purple finch photographed outside Ijams Visitor Center|
To begin with, purple finches (Haemorhous purpureus) are not really purple. The males are more of a mix of pinks and raspberry. But all of that nomenclature aside, they ARE remarkably beautiful.
Purple finches breeding habitat is coniferous and mixed forest in Canada and the northeastern United States, as well as various wooded areas along the U.S. Pacific coast. Members of the American rosefinch family, they are only in the Tennessee Valley in winter but not every year. They are erratic.
That's why this odd here-one-week-gone-the-next winter has been so special. We've had them at the Ijams' feeders off and on for several weeks.
Text and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales