We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I hear people tell me that they have lots of Purple Finches at their bird-feeders, and nesting in their eaves. Them ain't Purple Finches, they're House Finches.
House Finches were an import from Mexico and California in the 1940s, originally sold for bird cages, so they are in fact an invasive species and have now spread all over the US and southern Canada. They were marketed as "Hollywood Finches."
I haven't seen a conifer-loving Purple Finch in quite a while. They are, generally, uncommon and if you are not a birder, you have probably never seen one.
Top photo is a male Purple Finch. Below is a male House Finch. (females of both look like slim, brown sparrows with finch beaks)
We have both house and purple finches here (Virginia)-- the house finch is more common though. It's not so hard to tell the males apart, you just look at how far down the "cranberry juice" color goes. House finches, it stops at the chest; purple finches, it goes all the way to the vent. Females are MUCH harder to tell apart, though. The purple finches have a pale pattern on the face, and more contrast on the belly striping, but that's tough to spot if they're not perched still.
We hardly ever get redpolls this far south. Pine grosbeaks can look like purple finches at first, although they're much larger in size and have a distinctive (dark colored) hooked beak. And pine siskins can fool you too-- they look like the female house finch, if you don't catch the bit of yellow in the wing.
Back in the late 1980's, a family of House Finches raised their young in the ancient dining room window awning in the 1940's house we rented. The kids really enjoyed watching them grow up. I didn't realize at the time they were invasive.
Here in the piney woods of central Alabama, what I think are purple finches outnumber the house finches probably 10:1. After 40+ years of watching, I'm still not sure they're purple finches because the males' coloring is far less intense than either Bird Dog's photo or the pix in my bird books. I've can't figure out what they might be if they're not purple finches.
I have House Finches year round. I did have a mated pair of Purple finches visit a few days ago. It was not hard to tell the differance BTW. I enjoy them both very much. As for invasive species the Starlings cause the real trouble here.