Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Beautiful World of Red Birds

I am so grateful to Pablo of Roundrock Journal for asking if the beautiful red-headed House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) we had in a previous post might have actually been a Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus). What a great question. Well, possibly. They do have such similar coloring and size, it is easy to mistake them for each other. After a bit of research, I was convinced that we had posted a photograph of a male House Finch, but it made me keep my eyes open for another red bird to photograph. I was definitely looking for a Purple Finch, so I could compare and visualize the differences.

Today, a bird strikingly similar to the Purple Finch showed up on the feeder, but also looked different enough that it made me think it might have been something else entirely. I was already outside photographing a gorgeous black bumblebee on our coreoposis, so I just turned the camera on the red beauty at the bird feeder. I was pretty excited about photographing a Purple Finch for Pablo. When we looked at the photographs, though, I realized I really did have something other than a House Finch or a Purple Finch. The Pirate and I looked at that bill and realized we had a Red Crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). So, here's a Red Crossbill. Click on the photographs, so you can get a good look at the bill. It's quite a thing of evolutionary beauty.

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