The Pine Siskins have returned!

Pine Siskin waiting for a chance to get to the feeders

It appears this year is turning out to be a record irruption year for Pine Siskins in the US and I am loving it!  An irruption year happens when a northern species “irrupts” southward due to a food shortage in their usual range.  Pine Siskins are usually found across Canada, and in a few areas of the United States (high elevations in the northeast and west) and parts of Mexico.  But this year they seem to be everywhere! 

some of the over 100 Pine Siskins I had in my yard this morning!

As the name, Pine Siskin, suggests Pine Siskins enjoy feasting on the seeds of pines, cedars, and spruce trees.   They will also eat the seeds of maple and sweetgum trees as well.  They flock to thistle and nyjer feeders, and as I have discovered they love hulled sunflowers!  They seem to takeover the feeders which is nice since they are keeping the House Sparrows away for the time being.  I reported one Pine Siskin a few weeks ago, the following week I was up to close to 200 siskin at the feeders throughout the day, now things seem to have settled down and I have about 30 feeding the morning and fewer than 20 later in the day.   Enjoy them now as they may be abundant one year and absent the next.  Are you seeing any in your yard?

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