Pine Siskin

Carduelis pinus

Pine Siskin

Appearance

Pine Siskin are small birds that resemble a sparrow when perched and measure only 4.25 inches long. They can be recognized by the yellow in their wings and tail as well as the streaks of dark brown colour throughout their feathers. They have a short conical bill and a short forked tail.

Range & Habitat

Pine Siskin can be seen from Alaska through Canada to Arizona, and over the Rocky Mountains to Newfoundland and the northern New England States. They make their homes in coniferous and mixed forests, alder thickets and brushy areas.

Diet & Behaviour

Pine Siskin eat mostly seeds from both coniferous and deciduous trees like alders, hemlocks, birches and cedars. Other plants such as grasses and floral buds make up their diet too. These little birds are very social and  often nest quite close together. They also feed together during breeding season and they do this in a very organized way moving feeding from the tops of the trees down. When they are finished they move in a circular shaped flight pattern starting again from the top of the next tree. They do not always use the same feeding grounds every year and may be completely absent from common areas during some years.

Lifecycle & Threats

Pine Siskin can lay three to four eggs at one time that are pale green and lightly speckled with brown and black. A key threat to Pine Siskin is forestry practices which decrease the number of trees from which they can eat seeds.

Status

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information

www.enature.com

Photo: BW Jones