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Friday, October 19, 2007

Do you have Pine Siskins?

Pine Siskins at feeder

The Siskins are coming, the Siskins are coming to a feeder near you. Pass the word.
Pine Siskins are showing up in NH and other places now. These finches are an "irruptive species," meaning they appear across the country in winter in some years and not others, depending on how abundant the seed crop has been in their usual, more northerly range.
We had a flock of about 20 Pine Siskins show up yesterday at our feeders. They love hulled sunflower (shown in one of the Stokes Select finch feeders above), finch mixes and also thistle (Nyjer) seed. Since they are a flock species and like to feed as a group, the more feeders you have filled with their favorite seeds, the more likely they will show up and stay at your feeders. So we added a few more feeders to entice them.
Sort them out from your winter goldfinches, who are now in their more drab, brownish winter colors, by their fine bill, streaking and the yellow edge showing on their wing feathers. Tell us if you have Pine Siskins and what state you live in, click on the comment area below or email us.


RuthieJ said...

Hi Don & Lillian,
Pine siskins at my feeders too! I did a post about them on Wednesday.

Mine have always eaten Nyjer seed, but if it ever stops raining here, I'll try putting out some sunflower hearts too.

P.S. Your pictures are much better though!

mon@rch said...

I am still waiting for them to arrive! ooo Love your photos and I hope soon to have the chance to photograph them again!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I live in Farmington, Minnesota. I have Pine Siskins coming to my nyger tube feeder and also to my platform feeder on which I have nyger and black oil sunflower seeds. I first noticed them yesterday, October 20th when they were feeding alongside my goldfinches. The reason I noticed them was their unique call,as I had my windows open. They almost could be mistaken for streaky goldfinches! I have never had Pine Siskins before here in my 8 years of birdfeeding so I am pretty excited!

Mary C said...

All I can do is hope for the pine siskins to show up in my backyard later this winter. I did not see any last winter. As you had mentioned in your post, these birds don't always show up each year - especially here in central coastal California. But it is always a treat for me when they arrive.

Sara said...

Here in SW Michigan, I have 6 Pine Siskins and 4 Purple Finches at my feeders so far this fall. The first time for either species in 10 years. Yes, I'm smiling !

Anonymous said...

Siskins on nyjer seed and in black oil sunflower seeds, with house finches. Regular winter visitors with goldfinches and house finches, occasionally seen in summer as well.
Black Hills, western South Dakota
Caroline Stafford

Gail R (WNY) said...

I live in western New York State, on the shore of Great Lake Erie and near the Canadian border and Buffalo, NY. Growing Zone 5

Pine siskins are an irruptive species here, along with other cold weather birds Common Redpolls and Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Depending on the Canadian pinecone crop north of us, we will see them feeding in our yard during the years of poor crops.

First noticed the Pine siskins on OCT 28, 6 were feeding at a large, pole-mounted hopper style feeder filled with BOSS.

Within a half hour, they had discovered the 20-perch thistle-filled tubefeeders and had doubled in number to 12 Pine siskins.

They seemed to feed in waves, in groups, and then leave the yard.

I also saw them drinking at a pedastal style birdbath.

Another oddity, for here, this Fall was my first ever sighting of Red-Headed Woodpeckers...

I see them nesting annually, closer to Lake Erie, in dead snags in a Beech-Oak treed lakeside park and nature trail..

.. but never had seen them in my own town, which is app 20 miles from Lake Erie.

My first sighting, 3rd week of OCT, was a juvenile Red-Headed woodpecker, which I scoped using my KOWA 884 at 60x, perched on a fencepost at the bordering farm to mine.

Two days later, in the same area, I scoped a flying, adult Red-Headed woodpecker.

So not only were they sighted here, they app are nesting here.

I am attributing this sighting to the bountiful mast crop this year in WNY.

Mast also accounted for the appearance of Whitetail deer lingering in the area to feed.

Also, the warmer than usual Fall weather here resulted in larger numbers of grasshoppers, which kept the wild turkeys in the open fields longer than usual.

Unfortunately for them, the result was they had not moved deeper into the woods, in search of food, before turkey hunting season stared in WNY.

One interesting thing i will be doing as tome moves on, is observing the dairy farm that borders mine.

As of 9/29/07 they have retired from farming and have put their farm up for sale.

For the past several years, I have included their property in the range of my daily spotting scope observations of wildlife.

It should be interesting to see the changes that will occur now that their farm is idle, except for a few heifers they are raising for beef.

The farm I live on, bordering theirs, is also a "retired" dairy farm.

I rent out 40 acres of cropland and have a 25 acre meadow I leave idle and manage for wildlife.

Gail R (WNY)

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

In eastern New York, saw a single Pine Siskin on Sep 27. A couple have visited since but no large numbers yet like some others.
I addressed the possibility of a strong winter finch in a recent post as well:

Ed said...

Here in South Minneapolis, MN - I saw my first Pine Siskin today at my Nyger feeder - mixing in with the American Goldfinches. This is my second fall/winter in MN - but did not see Pine Siskin last season. I consider this one a smart bird too. I have put out a Nyger feeder in which the finch must perch upside down to get to the see. The American Goldfinches have resisted using this feeder - but the Pine Siskin was feeding upside down immediately. This is how I first noticed this bird.