LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, December 1, 2008

Finches and Siskins

RATS! This might be one of those winters.

I know that many people love Pine Siskins. We are not among them. Some years we do not see Pine Siskins in our area. Other years, appropriately called "invasion years," we have them in great abundance. So great that they crowd out our favorite birds. They flock with the finches and simply take over the bird feeders.

I awakened this morning to find the ground covered with a light snow. As usual, I sat cradling my coffee cup, slowly coming to life and watching the birds. Here is the first one I saw, sitting at the little birdbath on the deck:


"Perhaps you're wrong," I told myself. But when I saw the others, there was no mistake. The Pine Siskins were here in force.
A little American Goldfinch looked at me as if to say, "Can't you do something about this?"


The goldfinch watched as the Pine Siskins took over.



They pushed and shoved, just like the most ill-mannered children.

Fortunately, the White-breasted Nuthatches, the Carolina Chickadees, the Carolina Wrens, the Titmice, and our other "bread and butter" winter birds had the suet. But the sunflower, thistle, and mixed seed feeders were covered in fluttery flibbertygibits. I can only hope they stopped for a respite in the snow and will soon travel to places unknown.

15 comments:

Tina said...

They just know you have some of the best feeders and seed in town and they are spreading the word. I wish I had that kind of activity around my feeder right now...that ole cooper's hawk seems to have taken a stance on my fence and my feeders are more empty than ever!! :)

Dog_geek said...

I've seen one or two, mixed in with my goldfinches (I think - I'm not terribly good at identifying all those little brown sparrow-looking birds) but we've had some huge flocks of goldfinches this year.

Cheryl said...

Call me a tender hearted fool.....but aren't they all just looking for food. They are just doing what come naturally.......


I have lots of starlings here....they are noisy, brash and they are without doubt bullies but they are all part and parcel of helping wildlife.

We are all different, that is what makes life interesting..........

Cicero Sings said...

Accchhh ... those Pine Siskins are such PIGS! ... but sometimes it is a hoot to watch their squabblings.

Ruth said...

I'll trade you for 40 house sparrows. I had to take down my feeders today because the sparrows decided to have a block party at my place.

Cedar ... said...

Oh please, if they are just passing through your area, don't give them directions north to the Adirondacks! I've had them here and I call them my little "vacuum cleaners"... they empty a bird feeder almost as quickly as I can fill one. They do have a rather argumentative nature, for sure!

Kallen305 said...

I would love to see siskins. I have never seen them before and if they came to my yard, I would put up another feeder so send them my way. ;o).

I have about 40 house sparrows too, but they don't bother the feeders much, just the food that drops to the ground.

I have about 20 house finches though. I enjoy them, but they too can be bullies. I am also worried about the finch conjuncivitis so have to bleach them now twice a month.

I love the picture with the gold finch. Gold finches are such sweet little birds that they always seem to get shoved aside when the bossier birds come.

I love your feeders!

Jayne said...

My flock moved on Carolyn, if that's any consolation. I felt the same way about the Goldfinches last year. Mercies, but there were a gazillion of them... constantly. Hope your flock finds a new location. :c)

Toni said...

I can picture you now with coffee cup in hand grumbling. giggling here.
Perhaps they will move on they always do eventually.
I have to put up with house sparrows all year round.

Carrie P. said...

I am a bird watcher so I just love these pictures. I have not seen the Siskins around here. I look forward to reading more of your blog entries.

NCmountainwoman said...

Tina - Last year we had a Sharpie that hung around for a while. No bird activity while he was around.

Dog geek - Some years we hardly ever see Pine Siskins. But we always have lots of goldfinches.

Cheryl - Of course you are absolutely correct. I just want them to find their food somewhere else.

Cicero - They do make some interesting antics. I want to run out and shout to them, "There's plenty of food. Behave yourselves!"

Ruth - No thanks. So far we haven't had a problem with house sparrows. I would take down the feeders if they came in great numbers.

Cedar - Good description. I'll shoo them south.

Kallen - I would love to treat you to some (or all) of the siskins. They are actually very pretty birds, it's just that they are so rowdy.

Jayne - I saw fewer today, so perhaps they are moving on.


Toni - Pretty accurate description of me and my coffee! Sorry you have the dreaded house sparrows. They are far worse than siskins.

Carrie - Thanks for dropping by.

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: They are a pretty little bird.

Shellmo said...

I will trade you my pooping, bird feeder knocking mourning doves for your little pine siskins - :-)
Hope your goldfinch is able to catch a break and get some food!

Susan Gets Native said...

Hey, you curmudgeon! They flew a long way! Cut 'em some slack!

: )

Steve B said...

I used to get bazillions of siskins at my feeders in the foot-hills of Boulder, Colorado. When I miss my bird feeders, they are the first ones to come to mind. Siskins are just great feeder bird.