Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pine Siskins

Pine Siskins are tiny birds (around the same size as the common redpolls) and not overly colourful, though they do have yellow streaks on their wings and tail feathers. You have probably figured out that the photos I have been sharing over the past few days were taken on the same day. If you look at yesterday's photos on my Blog you will see an out-of-focus siskin in front of the evening grosbeak in the last image - you can compare the sizes of the two birds.

I really like today's first image except for the sunflower seed hanging on the side of the bird's beak. It looks like it was posing for me. You can see the yellow markings in the second photo. The bird in the third photo has ice hanging off its beak. I noticed this on several birds and assumed it was because it was digging in the snow to find seeds.

Large numbers of pine siskins used to visit my feeders, but like the other species I have shared this week, they haven't been around this area for a few years. I did see a few one day this winter, but they didn't stay around at all, probably because of the mild winters in the past couple of years.

I checked on line and found that pine siskins, purple finches, common redpolls and evening grosbeaks are irruptive species which means that when food is scarce in their normal wintering grounds, they move south to find an area with more food readily available.

While making photographs of the birds that day, I held some sunflower seeds in my hand and the pine siskins would hop on, take a seed then fly away. I guess they get accustomed to people fairly quickly.

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