Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pic of the Day

 Pine Siskin - Carduelis pinus

Pine Siskin - Carduelis pinus
Pine Siskin - Carduelis pinus
      For more than five months I have been feeding the winter birds that arrived in late October of last year.  Now, more than seven-hundred pounds of black-oil sunflower and thistle seed later the winter birds have departed for their spring nesting grounds.  I cannot tell you an exact number that attacked my feeders each day, but the number must have reached the thousands.   Pine siskins, gold finches, purple finches and white-throated sparrows were so thick they looked like snowflakes falling from the sky. 
     When I walked outside to fill the feeders, the birds would always take flight to nearby trees.  As I filled the feeders a few brave birds would always come back to the feeders as I poured the seed.  Just a week ago as I filled the sunflower feeder I noticed a pine siskin that did not fly away as I approached the feeders.  This one siskin clung to a thistle feeder plucking seeds from the fabric mess as I stood less than three feet away.  My first thought was that the bird must have trouble flying.  As I continued to pour sunflower seeds into a feeder the siskin continued to pluck thistle seeds from the feeder on which it was perched….the little siskin was fearless.
     Standing so close to the bird, I wondered if it might eat seeds from my hand.  I quickly scooped a handful of seeds and held my hand toward the siskin.  The siskin watched, but did not get the hint, it continued to pluck thistle seeds from its feeder.   Not giving up I moved my hand closer, the siskin still ignored the handful of seed.  I finally had my hand so close that I was touching the siskins breast feathers, but the siskin continued to pluck thistle seeds from the feeder.   I could not believe I as so close to the bird. 
     Using my forefinger I pressed against the belly of the bird and it hopped onto my finger and sat, turning its head left and right as it looked at me.  I called my wife to the window, somebody had to see this, and she did.  A moment later the bird flew back to the thistle feeder.  I replayed the scenario one more time.  The bird sat on my finger again and then flew to another feeder.  This was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. 
    On the morning of April 2 my feeders were eerily quite, the siskins, goldfinches and purple finches were gone.  Their next stop will be their northern breeding grounds, but I am looking forward to their return in late October.   I sure hope my favorite siskin is in the returning flock.
     I took these shots on March 30th, just a few days before the wintering flocks headed north. 

Top:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/400sec. @ f7.1
Middle:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/640sec. @ f7.1
Bottom:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/400sec. @ f6.3


  1. Cool post! I would love for a Siskin to sit in my palm...

  2. Thank you Kelly! I also enjoyed your latest post. Bobby