Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pine Siskin

Notice the yellow markingss on the Pine Siskin's wings and tail; Silverthorne, CO; 7-6-10.
A member of the finch family that can easily be confused with a sparrow is the Pine Siskin.  They have the brown streaks on their breast, belly and flanks much like several varieties of sparrows. Distinct yellow markings (Above, Silverthorne Bike Path, Colorado; 7-6-10) on the wings of male Pine Siskins set them apart from sparrows. And the streaks will set them apart from the American Gold Finches and Lesser Goldfinches. However I have always had a hard time distinguishing between female Pine Siskins and female House Finches, until I get a good look at their beaks. The Pine Siskin's beak is more slender than the House Finch's stubby thick beak.

A Pine Siskin feeding at a bird feeder in a Silverthorne, CO, neighborhood; 7-6-10.
Pine Siskins will spend the winter in the U.S. pretty much from coast to coast, but as the weather warms up, they will migrate North and spend summers in Canada and the Southeast section of Alaska.  However some will stay year round in the cooler altitudes of the Rocky and Sierra Nevada Mountains (Below, Yosemite NP, 6-18-09).  As a matter of fact, it was in the Rockies of Colorado where I saw a small flocks of Siskins in both open forests as well as in towns feeding at bird feeders (Above, Silverthorne, CO, 7-6-10) where there were plenty of trees.

The first time I was able to identify a Pine Siskin was in Yosemite National Park, CA, on the Cathedral Lakes Trail; 6-18-09.

1 comment:

tammymcchesney said...

Finally a bird I have seen (I was able to identify it in Winter Park w/ my Handy "Birds of Colorado" book LOL Really nice captures!