Description of the Pine Siskin
The Pine Siskin is a goldfinch-sized finch with streaked brown upperparts, whitish underparts with heavy brown streaking, varying amounts of yellow in the wings, and a thin, pointed bill that is slightly longer and thinner that that of goldfinches.
Males have more yellow in the wings, including a broad yellow wing-bar.
Photograph © Glenn Bartley.
Photograph © Sam Crowe.
Females have less yellow in the wings, and a whitish wing-bar.
Seasonal change in appearance
Similar to adult females.
Pine Siskins are found in coniferous, mixed, and deciduous woodlands.
Pine Siskins primarily eat seeds, but also some insects.
Pine Siskins forage in trees and shrubs, and usually occur in flocks outside of the breeding season.
Pine Siskins occur across most of North America, though they breed in the western U.S. and southern Canada and only occur during winter in the rest of the U.S. The population has declined in recent years.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Pine Siskin.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
- Male, adult, Washington, Mar. & Apr.
- Female, adult, Washington, Jan. & Mar.
- Juveniles (males above, females below), Washington, June & Aug.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Like many northern finches, Pine Siskins are irruptive in winter occurrence and are much more common in some years than in others.
Pine Siskins often visit bird feeders with flocks of goldfinches, both of which are fond of sunflower and thistle seeds.
Pine Siskins occasionally stay at a wintering location to breed if food supplies are plentiful, even though it may be far from the normal breeding range of the species.
The song is a rapid sequence of low notes. Various buzzy or sharp calls are also given.
Attract with suet or peanut butter.