Posted by: atowhee | November 24, 2012

SISKINS GALORE

<There are always flocks of Siskins in the Bear Creek Valley every winter. Right now they seem to be especially abundant in Ashland.

This little flock has been in and out of our garden recently.


This flock of about 3 dozen siskins was feeding in some alders next to the Karen Sue Fieguth Smith over Bear Creek along the Greenway just downstream from the Ashland Waste Treatment Plant (sewer plant).


The Pine Siskin (Cardeulis linus) is widespread in North America. He has a near-cousin in the Old World. He shares a genus with the goldfinches and redpolls. The sturdy little bird is aggressive at feeders, often driving off less insistent birds like Juncos or goldfinches. The siskin feeds on seeds, buds and some insects. The adults show slashes of birght yellow on wings, all ages and genders are brown and streaky. As I watched the siskins in the alders they were only a few feet away and at eye level. I could hear their soft whispers, sounds meant only for the other members of the Bear Creek Siskin Club. These were not the louder songs or sounds normally heard from siskins.

The siskin cousin, Lesser Goldfinch, this one a brightly colored male.

This Cooper’s Hawk, likely a female, was in the large cottonwoods just downstream from the sewer plant. That stretch of creekside was sans songbirds, of course.

This is one of the Canada Goose flocks that passed overhead, black against gray on a day of no sunshine.

But earlier this week there was a single sunny evening, a real winter sunset. Click on image for full screen view.

Bear Creek Greenway (includes Dog Park)–Ashland, Jackson, US-OR. Nov 24, 2012 9:30 AM. 23 species

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) 22
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 8
Cooper’s Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) 1
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) 7
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) 1
Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 3
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) 2
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) 2
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 3
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 4
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) 2
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) 2
Pacific Wren (Troglodytes pacificus) 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 6
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus) 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) 8
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) 14
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) 25
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus) 25
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) 9
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 30

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Responses

  1. Keep those aggressive siskins your way. I am protecting my lesser goldfinches from them and it ain’t easy!


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