Red Deer River Naturalists

The Red Deer river Naturalists are a group dedicated to learning about and preserving natural history. They have regular programs with speakers and many field trips.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Pine Siskin Invasion

       Yesterday as I was watching a small feeder I noticed a different bird for a change. At this time of year I have many house finches. I had to take a second look to see that the new visitors were pine siskins.

      Pine siskins are very interesting little visitors. They move in flocks of 20 to 50 and move often. They seem to move off as one ...the whole group flies. They like birch trees and the fine seed of birch. They chatter continuously. In the summer they seem to like my beets.

      These birds are very plentiful some years and then are absent for a few years.
 
      One time I looked after a feeder which was out in a park. There were a large number of pine siskins in the area that fall. One day I went to the feeder and found it totally empty. There were about 50 pine siskins complaining rather loudly. I think squirrels had been invading. As I put my hands up to open the feeder about ten birds landed on my outstretched hands and about ten birds landed on my cap. Of course, I flinched and all the birds left. The magic moment only lasted a split second but I have never forgotten it. I still like to see the pine siskins visit.

     Use the comments section to let me know of interesting encounters you have had with pine siskins.

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