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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Winter finch

Peter called me from the park to tell me that there was a Pine Siskin on the thistle feeder on Breeze Hill. Despite the cold, drizzly weather, I grabbed my gear and made the 25 minute walk across the park.

Pine Siskins are another bird species that is regarded as rare around the city, but I think is frequently overlooked. Every year at around this time I walk through Prospect Park, checking Sweetgum trees for American Goldfinch flocks. Once I find one, I take my time and scan through the entire flock looking for siskins. If I'm patient (and lucky), I'll usually find one. Last year I found one within a flock of goldfinches drinking from a large puddle on Center Drive.

There was a noisy flock of goldfinches at the feeder that Peter set-up on Breeze Hill. A few greedy birds monopolized the six perches on the tube feeder and snapped at others trying to access the seeds. A few minutes after I arrived a Pine Siskin aggressively pushed his way onto one of the perches.

I had been watching the birds for about 15 minutes when Rusty arrived. At that point the siskin had disappeared. It would be a life bird for Rusty and I reassured him that the Pine Siskin had been coming and going since I arrived. Eventually, it returned to the feeder and we both had good looks at the male bird. If the sun had been shining, I probably could have taken some nicer photos. It was nice to see all the winter visitors back in the park. Another interesting bird that I spotted at the feeders was a rare, yellow variant Purple Finch.

Prospect Park, 11/18/2007
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Sharp-shinned Hawk
American Coot
Ring-billed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Hairy Woodpecker
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-throated Sparrow
Purple Finch (Yellow variant.)
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

Other common species seen (or heard):
American Black Duck, Mallard, Herring Gull, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker

by Rob Jett for "The City Birder"

1 comment:

Pamela said...

some years the siskins take over my feeder. They are much like the gold finch, in that they don't fly away as quickly as the others.

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