Monday, May 4, 2009

Pine Siskins!

I've been meaning to post about this for a few weeks. Elly and I spotted our first Pine Siskins on Tuesday, April 21, on the new spiral feeder we put up this spring. We have heard of them, but have never actually seen any. A pair showed up while we were sipping coffee and tea at the breakfast table. (I'm the tea drinker.)

We knew immediately what they were. Superficially, they look a little like female house finches. But they are smaller, their markings are much more vivid, their beaks are thinner and more pointy, and their tales are shorter. The yellow markings on the wings and tails are quite subtle -- at least in the ones we have seen, a dozen or more over the past few weeks. They mostly all have fairly obvious supercillium markings, as well.

Mark at Backyard Bird thinks a large group of them wintered over in the Ozarks due to the harsh conditions further north. Now they are heading to their spring breeding locations.

It is fun to identify a bird you haven't seen before, and even more fun to be able to do it in your own backyard. We've also seen many kinglets and brown creepers, lots and lots of chipping sparrows, even flocks of them moving through our neighborhood, and a few Yellow-Rumped warblers (the Myrtle variety). Our backyard bird count now stands at 48. :-)

I took this picture of a saucy white-throated sparrow the same morning the Pine Siskins showed up.

1 comment:

waxwing said...

I've yet to see a pine siskin. I heard they were all over the area this winter, but not in my back yard. I did id one online for someone who posted a photo on twitter though, so if I saw one for real, I bet I could ID it.

We sure have a lot of goldfinches though!