Friday, August 01, 2008

Pine Siskins Mixing it Up

A few weeks ago when we were last at Hasty Brook the predominant bird sighted at the feeders were goldfinches. Last weekend I bought one of those cheap thistle socks ($1.99) and brought some of my stash of niger thistle and hung it from a branch in a spruce tree. Within an hour this little bird showed up. I thought it was a Pine Siskin but couldn't get a look at any yellow and she wasn't talking! With identification help by email from Mike Hendrickson he confirmed that it was a Pine Siskin! Later that afternoon I heard the familiar call of the siskins.
Check out her slender pointed bill.

Soon there was a mob of siskins. Mike said that if there is an abundant food supply for them they will breed in northern Minnesota. According to Sibley they will feed "on buds and seeds of birches, alders, pines, and other trees. Also takes small insects." My new Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America states: "Flocks devour thistle seeds at feeders." They emptied half of this feeder in an afternoon!
The males seemed particularly feisty, jostling for position on the feeder.

The birds are a bit blurry but I liked the shadow on the sock

There is more yellow on these birds than I thought.

More siskins in motion.



Leedra said...

I like how he is on 2 different small branchs in the top photo. All the photos were good.

NCmountainwoman said...

What great photographs! Wonderful action shots. When you have Pine Siskins, you REALLY have Pine Siskins.

Jayne said...

Wow Lynne, these are wonderful! I see them looking more drab down South before they start their migration. They do have a good bit of yellow, don't they? Here, in the winter, it is more green.

Susan Gets Native said...

It's a POSSE of siskins! Yay, you!
We got some for the first time this past winter, and I was amazed at those thin little beaks.
So cute.

Linda in Erie said...

Those are great shots. It really shows the yellow on the pine siskins. That last one really looks like they are threatening each other. I love the wing spread on the second to the last photo. He's showing off his beautiful wing color.

Mary said...

Absolutely one of the best series I've seen.

You know, all of the birds are aggressive now where I live. Even Mourning Doves!!!! Have you ever seen an aggressive Mourning Dove?

Great action, Linne.


RuthieJ said...

Gosh, Lynne, that's so neat that you have Pine Siskins year-round in northern Minnesota. We only see them occasionally here in winter, but I love watching and hearing them. Those are great pictures!

Anonymous said...

Great photos Lynne! You're really rocking that new camera of yours. :)

~other Sharon

Mary C said...

Wow! Super shots, Lynne. It's been a few years since I've had any visit my thistle socks. I'm so glad they know where you live! ;o)

nina said...

Those are great action shots. Its nice to see a hint at their personality--more than a neatly perched picture in a book!

Lynne said...

Leedra- I didn't notice that. Thanks for pointing it out to me!

ncmountainwoman- Thank you. I love pictures of birds in motion.

Jayne- I never thaought they had that muche yellow either. That's why I really enjoy spending time watching.

Susan- The beaks are SOO thin and pointy!

Linda- Aren't they pretty? There was some pretty aggressive behavior among the males.

May-May, Thank you my dear! :)

Ruthie- I was surprised to see them in summer.

Hellziggy- Thank you. That's a real compliment coming from you!

Mary- I'm glad they found my thistle sock too.

Nina- It's such a thrill for me to see behaviors and personalities in the birds that I love.

Anonymous said...

What great shots. I especially like the one with the two males getting ready to joust.

Marsha said...

That's a lot of pine siskins! How fun it must have been to watch them fight over the thistle seed. They are really quite pretty with all the yellow coloring.

Kathiesbirds said...

I've had flocks upward of 50 come to my thistle seed feeders when I lived in Maine! You've captured the action so well!

Eve said...

I love it Lynne!!