Pine Siskens are irrupting this year! Have you seen any at your feeder?
Pine Siskins are Here! Attract Them to Your Backyard
Be on the lookout for a seldom seen winter visitor - a small northern finch called the Pine Siskin. Unlike most years when siskin populations are rare to non-existent, larger and more widespread Pine Siskin populations have been reported this year.
Pine Siskins are especially attracted to feeders filled with Nyjer® (thistle), sunflower chips or black-oil sunflower seeds.
Pine Siskins are one member of a group of birds loosely known as the "winter finches." Other members include Redpolls, Evening Grosbeaks, Purple Finches, Pine Grosbeaks, and Red Crossbills.
Most of the winter finches live in the pine forests of Canada and the extreme northern U.S. during summer. If winter food supplies, such as pinecones, seeds and berries become scarce, these finches will periodically migrate south in search of more abundance. These "irruption" migrations usually happen every two or three years and can bring large numbers of siskins to your yard.
Pine Siskins resemble the American Goldfinch in both size and shape, but have a thickly streaked appearance with a touch of yellow in their wings and tail. Siskin are frequent visitors to feeders when they are in the area, and it appears that they will be making regular appearances in backyards all over the community.
Please visit the store or call us if you have any additional questions about attracting Pine Siskins to your yard.
Fun Facts About Pine Siskin
- Pine Siskins become considerably plumper through accumulation of fat with the onset of winter. Each bird can pack enough seeds into its expandable esophagus to support itself through five hours of rest at –4º F temperatures.
- Pine Siskins have difficulty opening the large seeds of striped sunflower but enjoy black-oil sunflower seed, chips and Nyjer.
- A siskin may take up a position near an Evening Grosbeak that is eating larger seeds like striped sunflower to pick up dropped particles and will even defend the position against other siskins.
- Pine Siskins may nest in loose colonies and will tolerate the occasional visit to one another's nests after their young are hatched.
- Some “irruptive” Siskins may stay near a dependable food source and nest far south of the normal breeding range.
- The primary natural foods of Pine Siskins are the seeds of hemlocks, alders, birches, and cedars.
- Pine Siskins, like most northern finches, are fond of salt. They seek out natural salt licks and in the winter they can be found along highways eating the salt used to melt ice and snow.
- Siskins, crossbills and other finches have been observed eating flaking mortar as a source of sodium and calcium.