Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Drawing - Female Purple Finch

Purple Finch - Graphite on Paper
Copyright 2011, Nicole MacPherson

Sometimes drawing is more like fighting.  Some birds just fly right off the page, and some stubbornly refuse to be rendered.  This Purple Finch has been in my queue for a LONG time now, I'm not even sure when I started her!  But here she is, so I suppose I've won the battle!

Purple Finches are a neat bird, one of the so-called "half hardy" species in many areas.  Here, they are early spring birds.  I think they do winter sometimes in the area, but I see them from early April through mid-May, a large range for a migrant!  They usually show up in small mixed groups.  Two females with four males, three females with two males... 

The males are amazing, a sweet raspberry-red with a sweet song, and are very hard to miss.  The female is much more subtle, often mistaken for a House Finch or Pine Siskin.  Despite being on the drab side of the color spectrum, female Purple Finches are a photographers dream - they very often perch on exposed branches, looking this way and that, turning about and giving a variety of poses without even leaving their chosen perch.  I seem to have a jinx for photographing the males though - they are almost never in focus.  Hmmm...