Habitat and Migration:
Pine siskins can be found throughout the United States and Canada, and they are especially common along the Rocky Mountains and in the coastal areas of the Pacific Northwest all year round. Populations that breed in southern Canada will migrate to the central and eastern United States, though if food is abundant the birds may not migrate. Pine siskins readily adapt to coniferous forests and suburban areas.
For such a small bird, the pine siskin is very vocal. Calls include a high pitched rapid chittering as well as fast buzzing. These birds will be verbally argumentative to protect their feeding locations from other siskins, finches or sparrows.
Pine siskins are agile, quick fliers that travel in both large and small flocks and can frequently be found in mixed flocks with American goldfinches and lesser goldfinches. They will feed on the ground beneath niger and seed feeders, and backyard birds can become tame and accustomed to human presence.
When agitated, these birds react aggressively with a head forward threat display, possibly raising feathers on the head or opening the bill. If another bird is too close to a feeding perch, the resident pine siskin may even snap at the intruder.
Male and female birds have a monogamous relationship and both contribute to the care of the young. Broods of 3-5 eggs require 12-13 days to incubate, and after hatching the fledglings remain in the nest for approximately two weeks. The female parent will incubate the eggs but both male and female birds feed the nestlings, and a pair of pine siskins may raise two broods per year.
Attracting Pine Siskins:
These birds will readily visit backyards where an adequate food supply can be found. Backyard birders who offer niger seed in tube feeders or platform feeders, as well as offering black oil sunflower seed and a source of fresh water, will frequently be visited by pine siskins. Yards with coniferous trees and natural weed seeds will also be attractive to pine siskins.
- House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus)
- Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)
- American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)
- Eurasian Siskin (Carduelis spinus)