Got a sweet spot for siskins? Bring more of these beautiful brown birds to your yard by creating an irresistible atmosphere abounding in the right seed, foliage, shelter, and feeding perches.
The Pine Siskin, also referred to by its Latin name of Spinus pinus, is a petite bird with subtle brown streaks and touches of yellow. Though often mistaken as a sparrow because of its modest markings, the Pine Siskin is actually a type of finch – which comes as no surprise when observing its playful behavior, body shape, and call notes.
See also: How to Plant the Perfect Birdseed Garden
Siskins travel in groups, and their flittering interference amongst each other can make for great backyard birding and enjoyable observation. Quick darting, acrobatic moves, and the most creative perch positions all contribute to the fun.
Looking to attract more siskins to your neck of the woods? Unfortunately, siskins are notorious for being unpredictable. But the good news is that you can still up your chances by setting out all the right things that these little brown birds love.
A Sweep for Siskins in 2020
The expansive reach of siskins covers quite a bit of North America, as these finches spend much of their time in Canada before heading south in the winter for warmer weather. But the migration patterns of these fickle finches can be difficult to predict.
As Audubon Magazine reports, siskins had a surprisingly strong presence throughout the United States and northern Mexico last fall, most likely due to a limited supply of conifer seeds throughout Canada’s boreal forest. Will they strike again this fall/winter season? It’s too early to say for sure, but you can definitely prepare for their arrival with some smart landscaping and yard feeders that will boost your chances of seeing siskins up close.
Here are a few tips on how to attract siskins to your yard:
Set Out Seed
In the wild, siskins feed on the seeds of alder, birch, spruce, and other trees. They’re also known to feast on weeds, tall grasses, shoots, and flower buds. So, if you’re looking for a specific type of bird seed to set out nearby, try to pick a seed type that closely matches their natural diet. All in all, nyjer and sunflower seeds are typically your best bet for attracting siskins to a backyard feeder.
Beef Up Your Foliage
As friendly as they may be, siskins are anything but slow and steady. They usually travel in droves, meaning you’ll need plenty of space to accommodate the masses. Adding foliage to your yard is a great way to provide a more natural environment for the siskins to stick around. They’re generally looking for plenty of perching possibilities, as well as shelter from the elements. After all, they may not be able to escape the snow if they’re hanging around the Midwest in winter.
So, what to do? If possible, incorporate bushy shrubs, coniferous trees, and other foliage with scruffy, twiggy branches. Not only do these spaces resemble the natural settings that siskins prefer, but they are also better for accommodating plenty of birds at once by offering places to perch and scramble through.
Get Finch-Friendly Feeders
Setting out seed is great, but how you present it is also important. Finch-friendly feeders can entice the siskins to stay. Long tube feeders stacked with several perches are excellent for finches, as are feeders that feature screens that can be clenched and grasped by the siskins at all sorts of angles. Remember, these little brown beauties are active scavengers, so don’t be afraid to spill and scatter seeds in the grass, too. This is another great way to accommodate larger groups of assertive siskins, as spreading the siskins out can help them share with each other more easily.
Another tip for providing finch-friendly feeders – and creating a healthier atmosphere for all birds – is to keep those feeders clean. Birds that travel in large groups, including siskins, are more likely to spread salmonella to other birds that they come in contact with. Cleaning backyard feeders once every other week – or more often during rainy seasons with high humidity – is a great habit that can help promote a healthier environment for siskins and all other birds.
With a bit of planning, you’ll be prepped and ready for welcoming these frisky finches to your yard. Here’s to hoping 2021 is abundant with siskin sightings in your neighborhood!