PINE SISKIN – (Spinus pinus)
The Pine Siskin is a small finch with brown streaks on a beige plumage. They have a few yellow edgings on their wings and the tail. The conical bill and the legs are grey. The tail is notched. It measures around 12 cm (5 in.). Sexes are similar, as well as juveniles.
The preferred habitat of the pine siskin (as its name implies) is the coniferous forest. They forage for cone seeds, or thistle or birch ones, but are also attracted to bird feeders (niger seed). They are very agile and move around a bit like huthatches.
The pine siskin is a bird species that breeds on PEI and is a year-round resident, as for the rest of the Atlantic provinces. Its occurrence varies from fairly common to uncommon to rare throughout the seasons. In addition, it is an ‘irruptive’ species in the winter. Its overall range covers much of Canada (to the tree line) and the northern part of the United States, and the rest of that country for the winter.
Conservation: Pine siskin numbers are difficult to evaluate due to the irruptive nature of this bird’s behavior in the winter. They generally follow cycles of seed abundance. It is currently listed as ‘least concern’ on the IUCN Red List.