Friday, May 8, 2009

Pine Siskins and House Finches

I saw both pine siskins and house finches on one of our feeders this afternoon and took the opportunity to get pictures of them. Since the birds look somewhat a like, it is interesting to see them together. The bird on the right side of the feeder is a female house finch. The other three are pine siskins. You can see that they are smaller and that the house finch's tail is longer. The siskin's markings are more vivid, too, but that is not as easily seen in this image.

The birds on the right in this image are house finches (top female, lower bird male) and the bird on the left side of the feeder is a pine siskin. Here the difference in their beaks is obvious -- the finches have much thicker and more powerful beaks. Also, this is about the best picture I have gotten showing the yellow covert markings on a pine siskin's tail.

It doesn't require a really expensive camera to get interesting and attractive photographs of birds. More important is to understand how to use your camera effectively, get in close to your subjects, and keep your eyes open for good image opportunities. These latter two items are easier to accomplish in your own yard than anywhere else because you needn't dedicate large amounts of time solely to the project and you can control feeder positions and attract birds to good spots for pictures.


waxwing said...

Thank you for this post, Fiske. I always wonder if what I have is actually a pine siskin instead of a female house finch, but since I never see any yellow, figure it is a house finch.

These photos are invaluable and I'm going to bookmark this post.

Fiske said...


I'm glad this post might be helpful to a fellow bird watcher. :-) Please keep me posted on the pine siskin search.