My Life’s Birds: #106
October 30, 1993 – Christian Co, Mo – The winter of 1993 was an excellent one for irruptive winter passerines. Not only had we already had visits from Red-breasted Nuthatches and Purple Finches, birds we saw in Southern Missouri quite infrequently, but another wintry guest was rioght on the horizon.
We always had feeders at out house, but fed almost exclusively black-oil sunflower seeds. When we became more interested in birds we tried broadening our menu, offering both a table feeder covered with millet and a thistle feeder filled with niger seeds. It was the second one that provided irresistible to American Goldfinches, and long with them, a handful of Pine Siskins, the Goldfinch’s streaky temperamental cousin.
We were, of course, excited to see something different at the feeder, and the squabbling Siskins provided loads of entertainment, their fierce demeanor no doubt honed by the ice and snow of the boreal forests. You have to be tough to survive up there, and the Siskins pushed the Goldfinches around regularly, always taking the best spots on the feeder, towards the bottom where the thistle seeds came fast and furious.
It wasn’t until this past winter that I saw Siskins again, with one odd bird out at my feeder in North Carolina, and several more back home in Missouri over the holidays. They were just as feisty as I remember. Maybe I won’t have to wait so long till the next ones.
photo from wikipedia