SCIENTIFIC NAME: Haemorhous cassinii
The Cassin’s Finch is a small songbird with a peaked head and short-medium tail. It is very similar to the Purple Finch but is slightly larger with a larger bill and subtle plumage variations.
Adults have a short forked brown tail and brown wings. They have a longer bill than the purple finch.
Males are raspberry red on the head, breast, back and rump. Their back and undertail are streaked.
Females have light brown upperparts and light underparts with brown streaks throughout; their facial markings are less distinct than those of the female purple finch.
They measure about 6.3 inches in length, with a wingspan of 9.8 - 10.6 inches and weigh about 24 - 34 grams.
CALL: Both males and females give distinctive, liquid calls with two or three syllables.
The male makes a loud call as he returns from foraging to perch near the nest tree, and the female responds to the call of her mate, ignoring the calls of other males.
SONGS: Males sing a rollicking, warbling song with a fast series of short syllables. Their songs often include obvious and quite skilled imitations of other bird species.
They sing from perches, in flight, and even while mating. Males sing to attract females in the spring, but they don’t seem to defend territories through song.
They feed on seeds, tree buds, berries, and other small fruits. They are very fond of the seeds of conifer trees. When available, they will also take insects.
They primarily breed in mountainous conifer forests of western North America, sometimes being found all the way up to the tree line. They are also most often found in conifer forests during the winter, although many times at lower elevations.
Western North America as far south as northern New Mexico and Arizona; also Southern California near Baja California.
The female builds a loose, rather frail nest with fine twigs, rootlets, coarse weed stems, and often lichens. The inner cup is lined with fine rootlets, grass stems, plant fibers, shreds of bark, animal hair, feathers, and sometimes shreds of rope.
She lays 3 - 6 light greenish-blue eggs, speckled with black, brown and purplish. Incubation period takes 12 days.