Could This Be Another Pine Siskin Irruption?

by Larry Jordan on October 16, 2012

Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) photos by Larry Jordan

The Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) is another irruptive bird species like the Red-breasted Nuthatch which is still hanging around my house. I am getting these finches at my feeders and at the water feature now. Could this be another Pine Siskin irruption year like the 2008 – 2009 winter?

Pine Siskins are distributed across much of Canada and at higher elevations in the western portions of the United States. Periodically, they will irrupt into parts of the East and into areas of lower elevations in the West1.

It is hypothesized that these irruptions occur due to variations in the bird’s food supply on their wintering grounds. When Pine Siskins irrupt into the southern ranges of the map above, food abundance in their typical wintering grounds may be low. You can read a very interesting report on the “Biennial Irruptions of Pine Siskins Across North America” at the Audubon website. They mapped their information form Project FeederWatch and the Christmas Bird Count data.

Time will tell if we have another irruption on the horizon but for now, let’s just watch the bathing beauties. Click on photos for full sized images.

Let’s see if I can get some of that water in those axillars

Like water off a duck’s back

What are you looking at?

Don’t I look pretty now?

Hey, what about me? Is it my turn yet?

For more bird fun and great bird photos, check out The Bird D’pot and Wild Bird Wednesday!

References: 1Audubon’s Biennial Irruptions of Pine Siskins Across North America

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Anni October 16, 2012 at 4:52 am

First off, thanks, Larry, for pointing out my error on the habitat map for the American Kestrel [using the broad-winged hawk instead] — you’re the only one to notice. I appreciate it.

As for your bathing beauties…that they are!!! Birds are such wonderful critters and quite entertaining. Love your photos shares this week, and thanks for linking up at the Bird D’Pot.


Mama Zen October 16, 2012 at 6:57 am

Beautiful shots!


TexWisGirl October 16, 2012 at 7:26 am

2 winters ago we did have a mess of siskins here at our place all winter. last year, almost zero. thanks for telling me why.


Mia McPherson October 16, 2012 at 9:37 am

I would love to have a Pine Siskin irruption here, I think they are subtle yet gorgeous as your images show so well Larry!


HansHB October 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

So nice to see your photos, – well done!


Phil (@anotherbirdblog) October 16, 2012 at 10:34 am

Super shots of the Pine Siskin Larry. They are so much like our European Siskin, ours greener and a little smaller I think, although I see you haver some fine shots of juvenile and therfore less coloured birds? At the moment we are having a Coal Tit irruption year – Coal Tit is much like chickadees as you know.


Modesto Viegas (Portugal) October 16, 2012 at 10:50 am

Great photos in a great post!!!


Pat October 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

Great shots of these pretty little birds.


Adam Jones October 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm

A cracking little bird.


Carole M. October 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

a beautiful little bird, hopefully you see many through your fall. I really enjoyed the video clip too; you got it good!


Mick October 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Great photos of the Pine Siskins and very interesting to read about the irruptions. I don’t know if that happens with bush birds out here but big breeding events happen for the waterbirds whenever there are big rains in the outback.


NatureFootstep October 16, 2012 at 2:11 pm

lovely shots of this nice little bird. 🙂


Eileen October 16, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Great post on the Pine Siskin! They are cool yard visitors. I saw my FOY Pine Siskin this weekend.


ken schneider October 16, 2012 at 4:33 pm

I do hope to see them in Illinois later this month, maybe with some other northern finches!


Neil October 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

The birds do look beautiful at the bird bath.


islandrambles October 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm

we also have a lot of pine siskins…much of their food source has died up north when the trees got in infestation so they have come south here…like the video and the bird bath. cheers.


Stewart M October 17, 2012 at 3:31 am

Great looking little bird – I am hoping for some action shots like these this summer.

Thanks for linking to WBW

Stewart M – Australia


Crafty Gardener October 17, 2012 at 5:58 am

lovely shots of the pine siskin


Phil (@anotherbirdblog) October 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Great shots of your Pine Siskins Larry, so much like our European Siskins but the US perhaps a little greyer. Our irruption this year is Coal Tits – chickadee equivalent as you know.


Phil October 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm


I left a couple of comments lately but you do not seem to have receieved them. Phil


Phil October 18, 2012 at 12:39 am


I’m trying another comment to see if this works. Phil


Ingrid October 18, 2012 at 1:46 am

Larry, I just love your various bits of video footage. They bring your topics to life.The visual splendor of the splashing, and the obvious enjoyment birds have in bathing is tough to resist as a viewer and photographer.


Phil October 18, 2012 at 7:48 am

Larry I love those shots of your subtle Siskins, just a touch greyer than our European Siskins. Our irruption this year is Coal Tits, equivalent of your chickadee as you know.


Gail October 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Beautiful shots!! I love when you include the map so I can see if a particular bird resides in my area. I’ve only seen the pine siskin once, in Texas. Still waiting to see one here in Louisiana.


Melissa October 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I do hope it’s an irruption year! I haven’t had too many pine siskins for a few years now, though I always get a few, and I do miss them!


Jill October 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

Awesome Pine Sikskins, Larry! Love the video, too, great stuff! Bird baths make me happy 🙂 I’ve been behind on blog stuff lately, gonna have to catch up on yours. Hope you’re well!


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