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Re: Pine Siskins

While today wasn't a Project Feederwatch weekend and I didn't count the
birds at the feeders, I had the usual crew at the feeders today, including
about 20 Pine Siskins.  The high count on Siskins at my feeders this year
occurred at the usual "historical peak time" in late January when I counted
73 Pine Siskins at the feeder.  I tend to think the Siskins do begin to move
around in late January (hence, the large crowds at my feeders) but don't
expect them to disappear anytime soon.  During the last irruption year two
years ago, I had three Pine Siskins as late as May 1 and the last Siskin
finally departed from my feeders on May 8.

A few other spare observations (hit <delete> if you're not interested in

I'd like to second Jill's observation that bad weather drives them in to
utilize feeders.  One of my favorite memories of Pine Siskins was one of
those typical "South Carolina winter" days - steady rain, a touch of
freezing rain in the tops of the trees, air temperature about 35 degrees
Farenheit - and I counted 91 Pine Siskins at the feeder, including the 8
Siskins who were bathing in a standing puddle of water.  35 degrees and rain
- and these guys were bathing!  

Pine Siskins are aggressive enough to displace American Goldfinches at the
feeder and they do so here with regularity.  Usually, if all the perches on
both of the thistle seed feeders are occupied, I expect to put the
binoculars on Pine Siskins when I count birds at the thistle seed feeders.
If I see birds vying for perches on the feeder and the bird already on the
perch retains his perch, I expect to see a Siskin on the perch.

Pine Siskins will eat you out of house and home.  I put up a second thistle
seed feeder during the last irruption year when they were emptying the
thistle seed feeder daily.  This year, the Siskins have discovered the
sunflower chips/hearts I have started using, as well.  When the Siskins are
here, they, along with the more numerous Goldfinches, consume between 4 and
8 cups of thistle seed daily.  I don't bother with small bags of thistle
seed.  I go for the 20 - 25 pound bags.  I don't mind, especially since
there is now a Wild Birds Unlimited store near where I work.   
Donna Slyce Bailey
Winnsboro, SC

e-mail: dsbailey@conterra.com

URL: http://www.conterra.com/dsbailey
     "Where are the Birds?  Migration across South Carolina"