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Pine Siskin pine siskin

You can attract Pine Sisikin to your back yard with water and bird seed.

Identification and Pictures

(Carduelis pinus)pine siskin

Pine Sisikin are small dark finches, about 5 inches.  They have pointed conical bills, and a deeply notched tail.  The wings and tail have yellow patches.  Females and young birds appear similar to adult males; however the males have more yellow.  The contact calls as they fly overhead in their undulating flight, are often the first sign the birds are around.

Birds similar to Pine Siskin are House finches and goldfinches and Common Redpoles.


Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

     pine siskin


Their call sounds like clee-ip.  They also make a zzzz sound, and when in flight they call tit-i-tit. 

Preferred Habitat

Pine siskin can be found in much of Canada, and the U.S.  Birds in southern Canada may migrate south.  In much of northern and western U.S. they are resident all year.  They can be found in conifers, mixed woods, and weedy fields.  Pine siskins are very sociable, and form into flocks year round.  In winter the flocks are larger, and are often mixed with other species.  Migration varies, and may depend largely on food supply.

Breeding and Nesting

Siskins pair up while in winter flocks, and pairs are monogamous.  They may nest as single pairs, or in small colonies where nests are built adjacent to each other.  After she chooses a nesting site in conifer trees the female builds a well hidden nest of twigs, grass, bark, lichen, and leaves, lined with feathers, plant down, moss, and hair.  She will lay 3 to 6 pale blue eggs, and incubate them for around 13 days.  The male will bring her food while she incubates the eggs, and both adult birds will feed the hatchlings.  After the young fledge in about 2 weeks, the parents will feed them for around 3 more weeks.  A pair of Pine siskin may raise 2 broods in a year.


Pine siskin often hanging upside down as they climb about, foraging in trees, and shrubbery.  Their diet consists mainly of seeds, but they also eat nuts, and insects.  They will visit backyard suet, and seed feeders, often feeding on the ground under them.

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