Okay, okay, so I’ve been receiving a TON of requests to finally fulfill my promise to feature original artwork on this blog (although my photographs are artworks, technically). After all, while photography and nature writing may be my true calling, my favorite artistic medium for portraying birds is either drawing or painting them, in the spirit of the world’s first bird artist: Roger Tory Peterson. Many of you may not even realize that I was actually named after this birding icon, as my full name is Ryan Tory Peterson McDermott. RTP the First, as I often call him, educated hundreds of people through his helpful “field guides” which depicted birds artistically, and showed readers specifically what to look for when trying to literally make heads or tails of them! So that’s exactly what I’m going to do here: artistically teach yinz the only surefire way to separate Purple Finches from House Finches (which are also purple): look at their beaks!
Take a good long look those beaks (indicated by the arrows). Pay careful attention to how each one looks. Once you’ve got that memorized, you’ll be able to tell these finches apart! Actually now that I look at the drawings it seems like the PUFI (Purple Finch) appears a little smaller than the HOFI (House Finch), but they’re about the same size in real life, so don’t let that confuse you! To avoid further confusion, I’ve just included the only two true finch species native to our area (East Coast). I was going to include the beak of a crossbill here too, but if you really need to refer to a comparative study of crossbill beaks versus other finch beaks, you’d better hang up your binoculars for good, because only a fool would believe the crossbill isn’t just some made-up mythological bird like the Archaeopteryx!