Cassin’s Finches are small songbirds with peaked heads and short-medium tails. Their heavy bills are fairly long and straight-sided, and their tails are obviously notched. Their wings are long and, when perched, the tips project farther down the tail than in other finches. Males have red concentrated on their crown (brighter than the throat) with pinkish wash coming into the breast; flanks are pale with only a few fine streaks. Cassin’s Finches visit feeders in the winter that provide sunflower seeds. They also like shrubs with fruit such as mulberry, firethorn, or grape bushes. Interestingly, they crave salt and are often found visiting deposits of minerals on the ground hence you may see them covering the roads and flying back from tree to tree. This little one took a moment to eat from a grassy spot where the snow had temporarily melted. Found in mountainous regions, mainly in coniferous forests; they drift to lower elevations in winter. /SANDRA JAMES