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Cassin's Finch

Haemorhous cassinii ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: FRINGILLIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

Slightly less well known than its lookalikes (House Finch and Purple Finch), the Cassin’s Finch is the characteristic rosy-tinged finch of the mountains of western North America. Small flocks twitter and forage in the tall evergreen forests and in groves of quaking aspen. Along with range and habitat, a good way to sort them out is to learn the Cassin’s Finch’s peaked head shape and thick, straight-edged bill. Males sing a rollicking song that includes mimicked calls of other birds.

Songs

Male Cassin’s Finches 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.

Calls

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.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Cassin’s Finches may come to sunflower seed feeders, especially during winter. They also visit many kinds of fruiting shrubs, including cotoneaster, mulberries, firethorn, grape, and apple. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Find This Bird

Head to mountain forests of evergreens and quaking aspen to look for Cassin’s Finches. Listen for their fast, rolling songs and be alert for flocks of small seed-eating birds—Cassin’s Finches often forage in the company of crossbills, grosbeaks, or other finches, or visit mineral deposits to eat salt.

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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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