No, Caryn, purple finches are not the same as house finches. :) I like
purple finches, but place house finches the same category as mice. We used
to call them English sparrows and didn't like them because they were so
prolific and took over the nest sites of other more desirable birds such as
blue birds or purple martins. Cleaning out house finch nests from the martin
house was a spring chore that I didn't particularly enjoy but did because
they started nesting before the martins arrived and occupied every available
space, which made them unavailable for the martins. They along with
starlings were introduced species that adapted too well. Check this site for
Here is a link to pictures of the purple finch, whose size and color,
particularly that of the female, resemble the house finch:
Oy, this is getting complicated. John: House Finches aren't the same as House
Sparrows (formerly known as English Sparrows). House Sparrows are the birds
that have wreaked havoc on, for instance, bluebirds. (I think you actually
know this and are just getting names confused.) I'm guessing you were clearing
House Sparrow (or European Starling) nests out of your martin houses.
House Finches and Purple Finches are closely related species but have different
although overlapping ranges. It would be unusual (although possible) for Caryn
to have Purple Finches on Long Island in the summer; it's more likely that she
has House Finches, which are year-round residents in most of their range (and
are a protected native species, unlike House Sparrows).
You were right that I was wrong. :) I was confusing the house finch with the
house sparrow, which along with the European starling I detested. Thanks for
pointing out my error!
BTW, in checking out the house finch, I found they were an introduced bird
in the East. Here's a site with some interesting info on them:
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