An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Feeding Habits of the Purple Finch

12-21-16-purple-finch-074Purple Finches feed mainly on seeds, buds, blossoms, nectar, tree fruits and occasionally insects. In winter, when they are mainly eating seeds, nuts and fruits, they use their beak and tongue to crush seeds and extract nuts. In the summer, when feeding on nectar, Purple Finches use their beak to crush the calyx at the flower’s base and extract the nectar with their tongue, leaving the upper flower parts undamaged.

Other random facts regarding the Purple Finch’s eating habits include following: Research shows that Purple Finches weighed in the early morning increased their body weight by 3.5 grams (13.5%) when re-weighed in the afternoon. Carotenoid pigments in their diet are thought to be necessary for the normal development of male Purple Finches’ raspberry red plumage. The mean handling time of a single sunflower seed is just over a minute and they prefer thin to fat sunflower seeds.

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6 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Such cute little birds & so much interesting info to learn about eating habits.

    December 20, 2016 at 9:18 am

  2. Nora Paley

    We rescued a female Purple Finch who was frozen to our bird feeder. We got rid of that one (Audubon) immediately! She had lost her eye and as she was getting better it was apparent that she couldn’t fly well. It seemed to be a depth perception problem from the eye loss, but she may have had another unknown problem. So we acquired against our will, a caged bird! We built her a 6 foot high cage and changed the foliage regularly. She was outside in the summer and inside in the winter. I never tried to teach her English but it took us humans many years to learn the simplest bird communication. She was a beautiful singer- she sounded like spring water! She was clear when she needed something. She also became a tiny “watch bird” becoming very agitated when a strange human or other species arrived. She lived 12 years! Her name (named by a friend 10 yr old) was Minicule.

    December 20, 2016 at 10:03 am

  3. Nora Paley

    I forgot an important fact about Minicule ! When her cage was outside in the summer months, male Purple finches came to see her and fed her sunflower seeds thru the cage!!!!

    December 20, 2016 at 10:05 am

    • Alice Pratt

      That is such a special story!

      December 20, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    • Your whole story is amazing! Twelve years! You obviously met all of her needs. That is great about her being fed by males. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful tale.

      December 20, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    • Cindy

      Love your story! Amazing. Thank you.

      December 22, 2016 at 11:14 am

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