and the Cassin's Finch on the right.
Needless to say it wasn't a typical Cassin's Finch. I have always looked for Purple Finch in Utah and began to think this individual might be a western/Pacific form of the Purple Finch. I moved to my office and set up my camera to get "better" pictures. The birds flew off but returned shortly after with the "odd-ball" continuing to feed on the ground alongside Cassin's and House Finches. The light wasn't great but I got a couple of okay shots with the flash.
I sent the pictures to ID Frontiers to get some opinions, and got mixed responses (as often with ID Frontiers)--some for and some against Purple Finch. I think the one thing that I always find amusing when I receive comments like, "I wouldn't have looked at this bird twice.." or "this is without a doubt..." or "there is no reason this isn't...". I find it amusing because why would I bother asking for opinions if there wasn't something odd about the bird. In the case of this individual it had a mixed bag of odd fieldmarks separate from the common counterpart found in Utah (Cassin's Finch). It's only when the field guides and available resources come up short that I find it valuable to get the opinions of what are an incredibly talented (mostly)group of birders.
Click here to see more photos of this bird.