Order: Passeriformes; Family: Fringillidae
Text by Akshay Manohar
Purple Finches are small sparrow-sized birds with beautiful raspberry colored plumage, and can be found in coniferous-deciduous forests from British Columbia to Newfoundland, down the mountains to California, and from Minnesota to West Virginia.
In the winter, they migrate south to the U.S.-Mexico border. During the summer, they eat seeds, fruits, insects and caterpillars, but you might just see them visiting your backyard bird-feeders (in large numbers) in the winter. Purple Finches are known to like millets and sunflower seeds, so be sure to have those in stock.
Purple finches make a ticking sound when they fly. In late-winter and early-spring, the males, either alone or in chorus, crane their necks and make a rich musical warble to attract females.
Like most female birds, female purple finches are a dull brown in color. This helps them hide from predators in the forests.
Their nests are made up of twigs and grasses, lined with hair and placed in a conifer. The eggs are blue-green in color with dark brown spots at one end. After two weeks or so, baby finches hatch out and are tended to by both parents.
Purple Finches have one or two broods a year. While these wonderful creatures are quite numerous today, their habitats are endangered by logging. They also face competition with the House Sparrow, and their numbers are dwindling in New England.