One day this fall, looking out the window, I saw a flock of small, heavily-streaked birds with just a touch of yellow on their wings. They were a little like goldfinches, but not really. A quick search revealed these birds were pine siskins! You may ask, “What is so special about pine siskins?”
Pine siskins are finches that breed in northern North America. Some years they may migrate in small numbers and therefore bird watchers don’t have much opportunity to see them. Other years, very large flocks migrate south, affording more chances to get a good look at them. 2020 has been a significant migration year!
Above is a small flock feeding from a nyjer seed feeder. Pine siskins forage together, eating mostly seeds and vegetation, but will also snack on insects. They feed in trees, shrubs and among weeds. They may be seen hanging upside down in order to reach a hard-to-reach nibble.
These birds are pretty vocal, making choruses of little buzzing sounds. They can be seen among groups of goldfinches, making identification just a little more challenging.
I included the above photo to show this particular bird has quite a bit more yellow than the others. The amount of yellow seems to be variable from bird to bird.
2020 has been a year of crisis, stress and isolation for many of us. It has also been a time of change with opportunities to develop resilience. Are you surprised by how adaptable you turned out to be? While we have been busy adapting to a new way of life, the pine siskins decided to take a nice long fall migration trip. What a blessing to be able to witness them as they passed through!
Today, I am feeling thankful for the birds who have helped me get through a long rough patch in life. I am also very thankful to God for never changing, even when our world around us is in a constant state of change! Our creator never gives up on us, never stops loving us, no matter what we do to mess everything up.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17