Photo by John Howard
Like so many birds, many times you can hear them before you see them. When in trees, Pine Siskins typically like to forage near the top. Their call is very distinctive, a buzzy Zzreeeee, that makes me look up to find them. They are closely related to and are the same size as the American Goldfinch and frequent thistle/nyjer feeders. Some, mostly the males, have yellow on the wings and tail and sometimes on the body. Many times you will see a group of American Goldfinches at a thistle feeder and notice a striped one is in the mix. If it is the same size and has a slender pointed bill, you have a siskin!
One bird that can be confused with the Pine Siskin is the female House Finch. Although they are striped like the Pine Siskin, they have a stouter bill and are a bit bigger. They do not have any yellow on their wings or tail.
Note stubby, slightly curved bill of the female house finch.
Keep your eye out at your feeder for this beautiful little finch!