I love having House Finches around year-round and enjoy the Purple Finches in the winter.
House Finches are native to the Western states and were introduced in the East in the 1940's. They now cover the most of the U.S. (year-round) except the the upper-mid and southern parts of Florida. The maps show they also live in a few southern parts of Canada.
Purple Finches are year-round birds in the North East and West Coast. They nest in a good portion of Canada and migrate southward for the Winter. They always show-up here in Georgia with a group of American Goldfinches in November or December.
My dear birding friend who visited me in July really thought I had both finches visiting my feeders. He pointed out that Purple Finches have forked tails and House Finches' tails are squared. I know birds don't read maps... however I am not totally convinced that the ones with the forked tails are indeed Purple Finches. The length of their tails suggest House Finch to me. Purple Finches' tails are shorter. Decide for yourself.
I took this picture last Winter and feel it is a Purple Finch.
These are pictures of the Finches in question. I took the first one recently. The second one was taken last Summer.
As you can see they do look very much alike. What do you think? Are these House Finches or Purple Finches? I hope this helps clear-up some of the confusion between these two birds.
Peace, Health, Wealth, and Love to ALL!