November Feeding Tip

Northeast News Flash! The various birding hotlines and listservs are buzzing with the news that many Pine Siskins are being seen at feeders across the northeastern states. This member of the finch family resides across northern Canada, Alaska, and in the high elevations of the Rocky Mountains. Pine Siskins “irrupt” into the United States when their natural food sources are not adequate within their normal range. It appears that the winter of 08-09 will be one of those years when many backyard birdwatchers will have the opportunity to see this visitor from the north. Look for a streaky bird with pale yellow on the wing and tail feathers. If one is perched on your finch tube feeder, notice the very slender bill. This feature limits their seed diet to the finest textured seeds. Aspen Song® Finch mix is an ideal choice for this season’s featured wanderers. They readily consume nyjer seed, an important component of the mix. Small yellow millet, sometimes called German foxtail millet is significantly smaller in size than the white proso millet found in most general purpose mixes. Aspen Song® Finch mix contains small yellow millet. Add fine bits and pieces of sunflower kernels, canola seed, and canary seed and you have the perfect mix for small perching finches like the Pine Siskin. Wintering siskins tend to associate with foraging flocks of our more common American Goldfinches, so scan these groups carefully, sit back, and enjoy the show.