The Cutest Siskin in the Land
Updated: Apr 1, 2021
If you purchased my 2021 “Talk Birdie to Me” calendar, meet your February bird!
Vocalizing the most memorable and unusual call is the Pine Siskin. At first glance, these LBJs (little brown jobs) can be mistaken as mere House Finches. But taking a closer look, the vibrant yellow coloration in their wing bars is quite distinctive. Pine Siskins are free spirits and are often heard before they're seen. Their irruptive migration pattern tends to follow the availability of seeds and allows them to continually expand their range. You may have heard some additional tunes in your yard during this past holiday season. The 2020 Fall migration season has gone on record as one of the biggest irruptive years ever for these buzzing boreal birds (I had flocks of 70+ in my yard). Pine Siskins may be small but they are very resilient. They have an expandable esophagus which allows them to store food for sustainability and get them through the night. They can also survive in extreme temperatures well below what humans can.
These social seed specialists are a delight to any yard. You can attract them with Nyjer (thistle) and black oil sunflower seeds. Unfortunately, while seeing more of them may have brought us joy, it has brought them pain. Pine Siskins are victims to the deadly Salmonellosis outbreak which seemed to have occurred along with their irruptive year. You can help prevent or slow the spread of this disease by keeping your feeders and the surrounding areas clean.