About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bird of the week: Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus
Order: PASSERIFORMES Family: Finches (Fringillidae)

Description
The adult male Pine Siskin is grayish brown with conspicuous brown striping. The wing and base of the tail have conspicuous yellow trimming. The Siskin is about 4.5 to 5.25 inches long, and weighs about 12g (1.5 oz).

Behavior
Pine Siskins eat seeds of alders, birches, spruce, and other trees. They also feed on thistle and other weed seeds, forbs, buds, insects, and spiders. They are attracted to salt licks and salt treated highways in the winter and sometimes drink sap at drill wells created by sapsuckers.

General

The Pine Siskin, a member of the finch family, is closely related to the Redpoll and the Goldfinches. The Siskin is an irruptive species that can be common in some winters throughout most of North America and even into Mexico. Even though these birds occur across North America, many have never seen this bird, or having seen it, did not realize it as a distinct species.

At a casual glance, Siskins look like plain, little, brown striped sparrows that mostly confine themselves to evergreen forests. In winter months, they congregate and move about in flocks numbering from a few individuals up to thousands of individuals. They readily visit thistle seed feeders, and are often seen feeding right along with the Goldfinches.

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