Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pine Siskin

Last week Pine Siskins appeared at the feeder. With the advent of bitter cold and snow, we banded a few on 17 November 2014. I have banded well over 13,000 siskins during my career, and have enjoyed a few notable recoveries. None of the birds at the feeder this year appears to be banded, which you might expect from nomadic siskins.

Siskins are an irruptive species, present one year, often absent the next. One assumes this pattern is due to abundance of seeds that the siskins consume. Siskins are odd in that, if food is abundant in a wintering area, siskins often remain to breed, usually very early in the spring. Even across its Canadian and Rocky Mountain breeding range, just exactly where breeding takes place is determined by food abundance (Dawson 1997).


  1. Oh, good! We haven't seen any yet this year but always enjoy having them in the winter.

  2. Keep your eyes out for siskins. Ours just appeared last week. Sometimes they can be hard to see among the goldfinches!