#391 Pine Siskin in Prospect Park

I don’t usually carry my cell phone with me, but for some reason I took it with me to lunch today, and it was a good thing I did. Halfway through my pork souvlaki Peter Dorosh texted me with news of a Pine Siskin at the Breeze Hill feeders in Prospect Park. Siskins are regular in the park in the fall but they’re usually only a few each year, and I’d managed to miss them all before now.

When I arrived at the feeders I ran into Rob Jett, who had arrived fifteen minutes earlier and promptly pointed out the bird to me. It immediately became apparent why I had missed it for the last several years: a Pine Siskin looks almost exactly like a winter plumage American Goldfinch, and it was hanging out with maybe ten goldfinches so you had to look close to realize what it was. Rob’s scope helped. The upper back was somewhat striped on the Siskin and more plain on the goldfinches. The bill on the siskin was also thinner than the thick finch bills. However that wasn’t always easy to see.

Nonetheless I’m confident I did have the bird. In the future I’m going to have to pay more attention to the goldfinches in winter. Who knows how many siskins I’ve overlooked in the last four years?

One Response to “#391 Pine Siskin in Prospect Park”

  1. Mokka mit Schlag » #434-437 at Big Bear Says:

    […] new California species for me, and only the second time I’ve seen one. (the first was just last Thanksgiving in Prospect Park.) This is a much nicer specimen, obviously not a […]

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