Purple Finch

General description.

With its streaked brownish-red back and whitish belly, this sparrow-sized finch has adapted to civilization, easily spotted in a city parks and suburbs. Not really 'purple' at all, rather it looks like it has been dipped in red wine.

Female appearance.

The female "Purple Finch" is heavily streaked with dull brown, and has a bold, pale eyebrow.

Breeding habits.

The "Purple Finch" is numerous and conspicuous during spring migration to its breeding grounds in British Columbia east to Newfoundland and southward in the western mountains to California. In the eastern part of the country it breeds from Minnesota to West Virginia. During the courtship period, the male dances about with wings extended and vibrating so swiftly they seem to blur. He sings with great enthusiasm, born into the air on a melody. If the female responds, he alights and they touch bills.

Calls or song.

The "Purple Finch" sings a rich musical warble. Its call is a distinctive "tick" as it flies by.

Population and distribution.

These finch inhabit mixed and coniferous woodlands and ornamental conifers in gardens. Like a true 'snowbird' they winter in Florida and along the Mexican border. Yet this hardy bird has also been observed bathing in streams in below-freezing temperatures. It is the state bird of New Hampshire.

Nesting habits.

The male "Purple Finch" may help his mate build a nest of roots and grasses, which they line with hair. This is placed in an evergreen five to 60 feet from the ground. The female lays four or five blue-green eggs, spotted at the larger end, with dark brown.
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