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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT

Pine Siskin

The Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus), also commonly called “pine chirper”, is a small finch that is found across Canada, Alaska and the western mountains and northern parts of the United States. Migration by this bird is highly variable, probably related to food supply. Large numbers may move south in some years; hardly any in others.

Adults are brown on the upperparts and pale on the underparts, with heavy streaking throughout. They have a short forked tail. They have yellow patches in their wings and tail, not always visible; otherwise, it appears to be a very small streaked sparrow. Its name is derived from the sound or chirp it makes.

Pine Siskins are very social birds. They will build nests adjacent to each other, with only a few feet in between them. When eating from conifers, the Pine Siskin usually hangs upside down from the tips of the trees. These birds forage in trees, shrubs and weeds. They mainly eat seeds, plant parts and some insects. In winter, they often feed in mixed flocks including American Goldfinches and redpolls. The nest is well-hidden on a horizontal branch of a tree, often a conifer.

Pine Siskin