This has been an unusual (but exciting for me) past two weeks in the backyard. I noticed what I thought to be an unusually large number of goldfinches at my nyjer feeder. After further investigation, I realized a had a flock of Pine Siskins! I haven’t seen these songbirds at my feeder for at least three years.
Pine Siskins are small songbirds with very streaky brown breasts with yellow edgings on their on their forked tails and pointed wings. They have pointed bills that are as sharp as a thorn on a rose bush.
Pine Siskins are an irruptive species that winter across Canadian forests. They will move further south when cone crops are short on spruce, fir and hemlock trees. You may also see them feeding upside down on the tips of pines and other coniferous trees. They will also forage in fields, thickets and backyard gardens.
So, while watching the birds at your finch feeder in the coming weeks, be on the lookout for Pine Siskins!
Although they are an irruptive species I always think of them as a northern bird. I was really surprised when a Florida birder directed me to an agricultural/suburban area east of Naples Florida (south Florida), where there was a small flock of them at backyard feeder. Unusual even for this irruptive species.
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