Pine Siskin Bitchin’
Many people will tell you that it’s unfair to assume animals share human emotions, but I challenge you to watch the interaction of these pine siskins and tell me that there’s nothing here that resembles anger. (Or even curiosity, as on the part of the bird on the left. It seems to me he’s watching, thinking, “Man, I’ll just stay here and be real quiet so they don’t do me that way.”) The one bird has obviously exhibited some behavior that has brought the ire of his companions. Had he stayed on too long and taken more than his fair share? Is he an outcast, unwelcome to feast at the same “table” as the more dominant birds in the flock? Did he peck one of the others first, and now he’s getting payback? Whatever was going on, these birds were fussing a lot at each other, making enough noise to drown out the calls of the many other birds nearby.
This picture was taken last week on our return from Big Bend National Park, in the Davis Mountains near Ft. Davis, TX. These are the first pine siskins I have seen in three years. If you are familiar with these birds, you might know that they don’t come the same way every year. At our house, we had them by the hundreds three years ago, but I haven’t seen a single specimen since then. So far I haven’t spotted any this (early) spring in our yard, either.
They often hang out with the goldfinches, eating from the same feeders. We usually see the yellow streaks of the goldfinches and the pine siskins fluttering about our yard at the same time. So far, for the past three winters, we’ve only had a handful of the goldfinches; that’s still better than the zero pine siskins we’ve had in the same time frame.
I wonder if these little guys will make it our way as they head north? I’d love to see them back; they are fun to watch, and seem to be harbingers of wetter springs and summers—something we desperately need this year.
As usual, edited in Lightroom and Photoshop Elements.