Purple Finches are common breeding birds of Northern evergreen forests that Roger Tory Peterson says look like a "sparrow dipped in raspberry juice.
They leave the coldest areas during the Winter to search for food (conifer seeds - "pine cones") and Winter along the West Coast and from the Central and
Southern U.S. up to the North East.
It appears they are being replaced in the East by the House Finch which was introduced from Western North America to New York City about 1950.
Official New Hampshire State Bird: Purple Finch
American Ornithologists' Union Common Name: Purple Finch
Other names: Winter Finch
Family: Fringillidae, Finches
Scientific name: Carpodacus purpureus
Length: 6" (15 cm)
Diet: Primarily seeds, insects, fruit some tree buds and
blossoms from winter to early spring. Adds insects in spring, feeds
heavily on fruit in summer. Young fed mostly seeds.
Voice: Song a slightly hoarse, warbled plidi tididi
preete plidi tititi preeer; bright, lively, and clearly structured
with accented ending; generally ends with strongly descending trill
cheeeer; overall trend rising. Call a short, whistled phrase
like vireo song tweeyoo. Flight call a light, hard pik
with musical overtones.
Habitat: Found in coniferous or mixed woodland
borders, suburbs, parks, orchards.
Displays: Courting male hops about dangling wings and
puffing out chest. With wings vibrating rapidly and tail cocked, male
softly vocalizes and may rise 6-12" off the ground, occasionally while
holding nest material in beak and singing.
Number of broods: 1
Nest: In coniferous or deciduous tree, 6-40'
above ground, on horizontal branch, far from trunk. Neat shallow cup
of twigs, fine roots, grass, lined with rootlets, hair, moss.
Eggs: Averages 4-5 pale greenish-blue eggs,
marked with browns, blacks. 0.8" (20 mm).
Incubation period: 13 days
Fledge: 14 days after hatching
Longevity Record: 10 Years and 9 months (according to USGS Bird Banding Lab)
Purple Finch Compared to House Finch Video
The female Purple Finch feeds the entire time in the video. Watch as other birds including a female and male House Finch also feed and then leave.
The additional birds are Tufted Titmouse and Black-capped Chickadee. The Purple Finch is a heavier bodied bird and notice the dark jaw stripe and ear patch
on the female Purple Finch that is lacking on the female House Finch.
The Purple Finch was adopted in 1957 as the New Hampshire State Bird by the State Legislature changing the Official State Bird from the New Hampshire
Hen to a native wild bird.