They’re also not alone.
We’re witnessing what is likely to be the biggest Pine Siskin irruption in recorded history. It’s not just Pine Siskins! They’re being joined by Red-breasted Nuthatches, Purple Finches, Redpolls and Crossbills. And here’s yet another unusual happening in this unusual year: the Evening Grosbeak irruption is the largest in several decades.
Pine Siskins Follow the Food!
Why are Pine Siskins irrupting? Conifers in their Canadian forest habitat had a low seed crop this year. This food shortage has them on the move South in search of food. This is our best opportunity ever to support these birds, and see them up close, with our backyard feeders.
We’ve seen them! We hope you do, too.
We were surprised and delighted by spotting two dozen Pine Siskins at our feeder station in the parking lot behind The Backyard Naturalist shop. Do you want them to visit you? Offer the food they like best, while giving them the nutrition they need.
If you want to know more about Pine Siskins, especially how to identify them, see our dedicated Pine Siskin resource page here.
Attracting Pine Siskins and Other Special Guests to Your Feeders
Like American Goldfinches, Pine Siskins are easily tempted by feeders filled with nyjer (thistle) or our Finch Favorite, a nutritious nyjer blend that includes fine sunflower pieces. You may even spot flocks of Evening Grosbeaks enjoying your black oil sunflower seeds. Red-breasted Nuthatches might be drawn to your suet feeder or split (hulled) peanut feeder. They love peanuts!
Enjoy Watching Gravity-Defying Acrobats at Your Upside Down Feeders
Pine Siskins defy gravity! They will feed upside down! Whether Pine Siskins are right side up at your upside down feeder or any position in between, Pine Siskins are just plain FUN to watch.
A Bottoms Up Feeder by Droll Yankee is perfect and will keep heavier birds from eating all your seed (and we’re looking at you, pesky house sparrows). This is one situation where gravity is on our side!
Water, Water, Water!
Don’t forget, as always, water is key. All birds need water, all year round. Keep an eye out for guests at your bird baths. Be sure to keep it fresh and topped up. Especially if you’re attracting a crowd.
Got Pine Trees?
Pine Siskins can also be spotted clinging to the tips of conifer branches, picking through cones for tasty seeds. They’ll join the Goldfinches in helping to deadhead those seedy weeds (or native plants!) in your garden, too. Could it be any more joy-filled? Less yard work for you and the experience of seeing some of nature’s most fascinating animals in your backyard micro-habitat.
Keep your eyes open and your feeders full! You just never know who’ll stop in. Please share your sightings and photos with us and other Pine Siskin, Evening Grosbeak, Redpoll, Crossbeak and Purple Finch fans on Facebook.
We hope all is well with you and your family. We deeply appreciate your continuing support of wild birds and our store.
The Backyard Naturalist Team