Interesting Purple Finch Facts
1. Purple finches were introduced in the eastern U.S. before the house finches were introduced in 1940.
2. Its scientific name is Carpodacus Purpureus.
3. The purple finch won over the New Hampshire hen to become the official bird of the so-called Granite State via the 1957 legislature. The strong support of Rep. Robert Monahan of Hanover and sponsoring organizations led to the speedy passage of the bill on April 25, 1957.
4. There are two subspecies of the purple finch – the Pacific Coast form which has a different wing shape and colors from the more common form.
5. The purple finch used to be a common resident in southern New England every summer. Now, it visits the state only during the winter.
6. Data from the Breeding Bird Survey showed that the breeding population of eastern purple finches has dropped by 50 percent. The decrease in number is blamed on the introduction of house finches to the east as well as the disappearance of their favorite food source, the American elm.
7. The decline in the population of purple finches in the eastern part of the U.S. is partly due the competition with the house finch. In most aggressive interactions, the house finch almost always wins. A population decline was also observed as a result of the introduction of the house sparrow.
8. This bird is known as the Roseline Pourpre’ in French and Gorrion Purpureo in Spanish.
9. The purple finches in the east have erratic migrations during autumn. They fly from the north to the south throughout most of their range with variable movements known as “biennial incursions.”
10. Purple finches appear every two years as far as south as northern Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. Researchers say this movement is due to the variability in the food sources of birds.
11. Although primarily seed eaters, purple finches also eat insects and fruits. They love the berries especially in winter. At birdfeeders, they will also eat peanuts without the shell and mealworms like most birds.
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