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ID Tips for Tricky Finches

Unknown Finch
Can you identify this finch? Download the PDF to learn how.

Ever been stumped by a streaky brown finch at your feeder? Or have trouble determining whether the “Purple” finch you’re looking at is really a Purple Finch and not one of the other look-alike species? The trio of House Finch, Purple Finch, and Cassin’s Finch provide one of the most challenging groups of birds to identify in North America. In some ways, immatures and females of all three species are more similar to each other than they are to adult males. Despite these similarities, with good views, you can usually identify the great majority of individuals. We have prepared a PDF that focuses on this identification issue, and teaches you how location, size and shape, and color pattern can be combined to arrive at an accurate identification. Download the PDF.