The Pine Siskin is around the same size as the widespread American goldfinch. In both sexes, total length can range from 11 to 14 cm (4.3 to 5.5 in), with a wingspan of 18 to 22 cm (7.1 to 8.7 in) and weight of 12 to 18 g. Adults are brown on the upperparts and pale on the underparts, with heavy streaking throughout. They have short forked tails. Their bills are conical like most finches but are more elongated and slender. Pine siskins can be distinguished from other finches and American sparrows by their heavy streaking, relatively slender bills, notched tail, yellow or whitish patches on the wings and smallish size.
Habitat and Distribution
Their breeding range spreads across almost all of Canada, Alaska ;the western mountains and northern parts of the United States. They prefer breeding in the Northern pine forests. However nesting birds also favor conifer or decidous trees in partially developed parks, cemeteries, and suburban woodlands.
These birds forage in trees, shrubs and weeds. They mainly eat seeds, plant parts and some insects. Small seeds, especially thistle, red alder, birch, and spruce seeds, make up most of the diet.
The Pine Siskin birds build a nest which is well-hidden on a horizontal branch of a tree, often a conifer.
Calls and Songs
The most common call is a buzzy, rising zreeeeee. Flight call: it is a harsh, descending chee. Song: a lengthy jumble of trills and whistles similar to that of the American goldfinch, but more huskier.