PINE SISKIN(Spinus pinus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: 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. Sexes are similar, as well as juveniles. It is around 12 cm (5 inches) long.
NAME: The English name ‘Siskin’ derives from various European languages to mean a small ‘chirping’ bird. The name ‘Pine’ (as well as the Latin species name ‘pinus’) refers to the bird’s habitat. The Latin genus name ‘Spinus’ originates from Greek and refers to an unidentified bird.
HABITAT: The preferred habitat of the pine siskin (as its name implies) is the coniferous forest.
DIET: Pine siskins forage for cone seeds, also thistle or birch seeds. They are attracted to bird feeders.
NESTING: The nest is built in a conifer and is a rather flat structure. Around four light green eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female. Both parents feed the chicks.
DISTRIBUTION:  The 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.
Distribution map:
ON PEI: The pine siskin is a species that breeds on Prince Edward Island and is a year-round resident. Its sightings range from rare to fairly common, depending on the seasons and the availability of food.
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.
NOTES:  Pine siskins are very agile and move around trees a bit like Nuthatches.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Common Redpoll, House Finch (female), Purple Finch (female)
REFERENCES (Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas)

Pine Siskin - Jan. 28, 2013 - © Wanda Bailey
Pine Siskin – Jan. 28, 2013 – © Wanda Bailey
Pine Siskin - Feb. 1, 2015 - © Wanda Bailey
Pine Siskin in flight with bill open – Feb. 1, 2015 – © Wanda Bailey
Pine Siskin - Nov. 22, 2012 - © Wanda Bailey
Pine Siskin – Nov. 22, 2012 – © Wanda Bailey