The Purple Finch, Carpodacus purpureus, was officially named New Hampshire's state bird in 1957. The New Hampshire Federation of Women's Clubs selected it, by popular vote, as their club's state bird in 1927.
According to netstate, “The bill to adopt the purple finch as the state bird, was filed by Representative Robert S. Monahan of Hanover, then Dartmouth College forester, on February 12, 1957. He had support from the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Federation of Garden Clubs and, not surprisingly, the State Federation of Women's Clubs.”
Mr. Monahan's bill was approved by the New Hampshire General Assembly. The legislation was signed by Governor Lane Dwinell on April 25, 1957.
The purple finch is not particularly rare, nor is it exclusive to New Hampshire. Its summer range extends from Newfoundland, Canada, southward through the eastern United States to northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and westward to North Dakota. These birds spend their winter months from southern New England southward to the U.S.-Mexico Border.
Oh yes, and I don't want to forget to mention… the Purple Finch is actually not purple at all.. the male is a raspberry red color, while the female is brown and white striped.
Perhaps it is time to update the state bird. I would nominate Bicknell's Thrush. It is one of the rarest and most sought-after North American birds, and it breeds only at elevations between 2200 and 4200 feet. And guess what? They like New Hampshire's high mountains. More than 40% of available breeding birds live right here in the Granite State (in the White Mountain National Forest).
ADDENDUM: Well, I guess some people take the state bird seriously (smile). I've already read a couple of posts on NH Underground stating they aren't very happy with me. Hey folks, I'm not talking about doing anything bad to the cute lil birdies. Maybe we could cooperate here and have co-state birds? 😀 Their comments are worth reading, especially the one about changing Massachusetts' state bird to the Cowbird, heh.
-New Hampshire Birding Hotspots-
-The Great Backyard Bird Count-
-All About the Purple Finch (hear it warble)-
-Species Profile: Mountain Thrush (Birder's World Magazine)-
-Hinterland's Whos Who-
-Birds of America-