Sparrow-sized finch with relatively long wings and notched tail. Adult males have light pinkish throat and breast, blending with white belly. Brownish face with pink wash on eyebrow and submoustachial stripe. Bright red crown. Heavily streaked back with pinkish wash. Pink rump. Flanks and undertail coverts have varying amount of fine, crisp dark streaks. Females and immature males brownish with coarsely streaked white underparts. Distinguished from Purple Finch by its more crisply streaked underparts, its longer more pointed bill with straight culmen, and by voice.
Length: 16 (cm) Wingspan: 25 (cm)
Song a bright, varying warble; longer than Purple and House Finches. Flight call a dry, variable keetup or dee-dee-yip.
Usually inhabits dry, semi-open woodlands; prefers pine. A high-elevation bird, but occasionally found at lower elevations, especially during winter.
Prefers to forage in trees or weedy vegetation; less frequently forages on ground. Forms small flocks in fall and winter. May visit feeders.
Diet primarily consists of seeds, nuts and berries; occasionally eats insects.
These birds frequently incorporate into their songs imitations of the songs and calls of other species. I have heard the "quark" call of Mountain Quail, "pritik" of W. Tanager, and fragments of (assumed) "Thick-billed" Fox Sparrow song from Cassin's Finch in nw. CA. The "cheedle-up" call is a distinctive and common sound of Western mountain forests. It's notable that the breeding range of Cassin's Finch is almost the same as that of ponderosa pine. They also use lower- subalpine stands of many other conifer species, including several true firs and quite a few other pines. They breed in straight aspen at least on Steens Mountain in se. Oregon; is this routine in the Great Basin?
Citation: Personal Experience. I observe this occasionally, confident.
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|09/08/13||Dave Irons, OR||1|
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|Activity||Date & Time|
|David Fix added a note to Cassin's Finch Notes||7/03/2011 at 4:08PM|