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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Cassin's Finch -- Carpodacus cassinii

RANGE: Resident in western United States, in the mountains of the Pacific States, Idaho, and Montana, south into New Mexico and Arizona. Extends into Canada to breed, south into Mexico in winter.

STATUS: Common in western conifers.

HABITAT: Inhabits conifer forests, up to lodgepole pine type, with low to intermediate canopy cover; frequents forest edges more than interiors. In winter, moves to shrubby, bushy areas, as well as open areas with scattered trees.


NEST: Nests in large conifers, near the ends of limbs quite high above the ground. Usually constructs nest of twigs, wood stems, rootlets, and lichen, and lined with hair and rootlets and sometimes bark.

FOOD: Primarily eats vegetable material, preferring buds, berries, and seeds, particularly those of conifers. Also eats some animal material, but only incidentally.

REFERENCES: Samson 1976, Verner and Boss 1980.

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