Backyard photographyBirds

Surprise Lifer Pine Siskin in my Own Backyard

On Sunday I got up early, set up my chair and my camera in the backyard, and settled in for a morning of photography with my backyard birds. My targets were American Goldfinches and Painted Buntings that winter in the yard. But my jaw dropped when I focused on my first bird and saw someone I’d never seen before…

Pine Siskin
Pine Siskin

This is a Pine Siskin. He’s a rare winter visitor in Florida. Pine Siskins are usually found hanging out with flocks of American Goldfinches. He’s about the size of a goldfinch with streaks kinda like a female House Finch. After a few minutes, he joined the goldfinches on the nyger feeder as I updated my life list.

Pine Siskin with American Goldfinches at feeder
Pine Siskin with American Goldfinches at Feeder

The goldfinches are such fun to watch. Rich and I tease about a “goldfinch conundrum.” How many goldfinches fit on an 8-port feeder? Often one or two, and everybody else perches in the nearby tree to compete for a perch. They are such clowns.

The goldfinches are much more photogenic when perched on a nice branch…

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch

This goldfinch is starting to molt into his springtime yellow coat. I’m happy because they are so beautiful when they are bright yellow. But I’m sad because it means the goldfinches will be leaving soon. I do love their cheerful calls in the backyard.

This greenie Painted Bunting hopped out for a minute and peeked at the camera. It’s been a good year for buntings, with higher numbers than usual in the early winter months.

Painted Bunting
Painted Bunting

“Meow! Meow!” A pair of Gray Catbirds flew in and out of the bushes as the morning went on. One came and perched just a few feet away from me. My gray cat watching me from the porch perked up and said “Mrrow-rrow!”

Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird

The Pine Siskin took off with the small flock of goldfinches, then returned later in the morning. Clearly everybody liked the free food in my feeder. I silently begged the Pine Siskin to move to a better perch. He did!

Pine Siskin

Hopefully the Pine Siskin hangs around till next weekend! :)

eBirdFind my birding list from today on eBird.

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