Spinus Pinus – Pine Siskin

Spinus Pinus - Pine Siskin

The pine siskin, Spinus pinus is a finch-family bird found in North America. It is a migratory bird with a very irregular winter range. Pine siskins are brown, highly streaked birds with subtle yellow edging on their wings and tails. Yellow flashes may occur as they fly, flutter at branch tips, or display during mating.

Quick Overview: Spinus Pinus – Pine Siskin
Body size: Around 4.5-5.25 in (11-13 cm) and a weight of 14 g (0.5 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Yellow, White,
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: January, February, December
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Pine siskin Description

Brown-streaked finch with a small body. The wings have small yellow patches and two white wing-bars. Dark, notched tail with small yellow patches.

Spinus Pinus - Pine Siskin
Spinus Pinus eating seeds – Pine Siskin. Photo by: DaPuglet


These birds have a length of 4.5-5.25 in (11-13 cm) and a weight of 14 g (0.5 oz). Their wings could range from 8.5-9 in (22-23 cm).


Mostly seeds and other vegetable matter, with a few insects thrown in for good measure. Consumes seeds from alder, birch, spruce, and a variety of other trees, as well as weeds and grasses; also consumes buds, flower parts, nectar, and young shoots. Additionally, it feeds on insects, such as caterpillars and aphids.


The pine siskin is frequently found in coniferous and mixed coniferous-deciduous forests during the winter. It is also found in shrub and field areas during the summer, though it will branch out from its preferred habitat to feed wherever seeds are available.


In the winter, Pine Siskins frequently visit feeders (especially for thistle or nyjer seed) or cling to the branch tips of pines and other conifers, occasionally hanging upside down to pick at seeds below. They are gregarious, foraging in dense flocks and communicating with one another constantly, even during their undulating flight.

Spinus Pinus Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Fringillidae
  • Subfamily: Carduelinae
  • Genus: Spinus
  • Species: Spinus pinus

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the winter season (December to February).

Distribution of the Pine siskin in the USA

Breeds from southern Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Newfoundland south to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, the Great Lakes region, and northern New England during the winter; winters in the southern United States.

The Pine siskin can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Spinus Pinus – Pine Siskin

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