The male Finch is purple pink on top and brown with a touch of white while the female is brown and white with large white eyebrows and looks more like a House Sparrow.
Both have a fairly large head, plump body, deeply notched tail and conical bill.
Purple Finches are found living in the South during Winter but are native to the North East and lower Canada. Old timers say that when the Purple Finch leaves the South you know for sure Spring is truly here.
They love black oil Sunflower seeds and will enjoy them at your feeders. But, in their Northern home, they will eat some insects and the seeds from fruit. Because of their bill, they will crack the seed instead of eating it whole.... so plants will not be spread by their eating.
Most Purple Finches travel in groups of fifty and at times with House Finches.
Mating and nesting will happen in the North. The male will begin to sing softly while hopping, fluffing his feathers and holding a twig or grass stem in his beak. If things go well they will mate and the female will start to build a nest.
It will take her 3-8 days to build the nest. She will make it out of twigs, sticks and roots. The cup-like nest will be lined with fine grass and aminal hair. When finished the nest will be about 7" wide and 4" tall out on a branch of a 5 to 60-foot tree.
Together they may have 1-2 broods with 2 t0 7 pale green eggs with brown and black marks on them. The female will incubate the eggs for 12-13 days and the young will leave the nest in 13-16 days.
The Purple Finch is the state bird of New Hampshire, but a true Winter favourite in the South