Finches and Siskins of Columbia County, Oregon

While many birds are called “finches”, only members of the Fringillidae family are considered “True Finches”. They are small-to-medium-sized birds with short stout bills that eat seeds and nuts. One other “true finch”, the Evening Grosbeak, is covered in the grosbeak section.

house finch male northwest oregon columbia county
House Finch (male) – A streaked brown body with bright red color on the head and upper breast. Very short thick beak. Common in agricultural and residential areas. (photo © jayras)
house finch female northwest oregon columbia county
House Finch (female) – Brown body with streaked wings, blurry streaks on breast. Short thick beak differentiates from sparrows and other small brown birds. (photo © Cat Kizer)
Purple Finch (male) – A purplish tint and more color on the head and back than House Finch. Impressive bill size. Breeds in coniferous forest in summer, moving to valleys in winter. (photo © Patty Teague)
purple finch female northwest oregon columbia county
Purple Finch (female) – Whiter “eyebrow” and “mustache” than female House finch. More distinct, darker streaks on breast. A common bird feeder visitor in the winter. (photo © Kurt Steinback)
American Goldfinch male northwest oregon columbia county
American Goldfinch (male) – Brilliant yellow with black wings/tail with white highlights and a partial black crown. Found in forest, agriculture, and residential areas. (photo © Andy Frank)
american goldfinch female northwest oregon columbia county
American Goldfinch (female) – Dirtier yellow body, black wings/tail with white highlights. Undertail is white. Feeds on seeds, thus common at weed patches and bird feeders. (photo © molanic)
Lesser Goldfinch male northwest oregon columbia county
Lesser Goldfinch (male) – One of the smallest finches. Yellow below, olive above with black/white wings and tail and a full black crown. Can live almost anywhere with trees. (photo © nmrvelj)
Lesser Goldfinch female northwest oregon columbia county
Lesser Goldfinch (female) – More yellowish undertail than female American Goldfinch and an extra white patch on the wing. Is declining in some areas for unknown reasons. (photo © Phil Kahler)

Red Crossbill northwest oregon columbia county
Red Crossbill (male) – Red with darker brownish wings. The “crossed” bill is very distinctive and is used to pry seeds out of pinecones. (photo © Erika Mitchell)
Red Crossbill (female) – Females are yellowish-olive with darker wings, and have the same crossed bill. Crossbills are uncommon visitors to our coniferous forests. (photo © Patty Teague)
Pine Siskin northwest oregon columbia county
Pine Siskin – Streaked brown with yellow edgings on the wings and tail. Bill is more pointed than other finches. Resides in coniferous forest. (photo © Patty Teague)
Pine Siskin green morph northwest oregon columbia county
Pine Siskin (green morph) – The rare “green morph” has more prominent yellow and olive coloration, and often has lighter streaking on the belly. (photo © Paul Prappas)

The Brambling has also been seen in our area on very rare occasions.

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