Common Name

Scientific Name

Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

Cassin's finch, Carpodacus cassinii, breeds from southern Alberta, Canada, to the west-central United States in montane coniferous forests. In winter, some birds move south as far as central Mexico, though most of the breeding range remains occupied all year. In Utah, Cassin's finch is a year-round resident that is found statewide in high and mid-elevation forests.

This finch feeds primarily on buds, fruits, and seeds, especially those of the ponderosa pine. Occasionally insects are eaten. Nests are built during May and are usually located out on a branch, high in a conifer. Sometimes they are built near the trunk within a few feet of the top of the tree. The female is believed to build the nest. The nest cup is constructed of small twigs, roots, and plant fibers, and is lined with fine fibers and hair. Usually four or five, but sometimes three or six, eggs are laid and incubated by the female while the male brings food to the nest. Young are tended by both parents and leave the nest at 14 days of age.


  • Hahn, T. P. 1996. Cassinís finch (Carpodacus cassinii). Birds of North America 240: 20 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.