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Pine Siskin

Carduelis pinus

This bird’s breeding range stretches across almost the entirety of Canada, Alaska and, to a more variable degree, across the western mountains and northern parts of the United States. Normally a bird that lives at elevation, some of those shown below were found in my Poway yard (elevation 512 feet).

Their nomadic lifestyle is driven by the abundance or absence of seed crops. Sizable flocks can be seen in an area one year and not the next. These birds are adapted to survive in cold climates by an ability to fire up their metabolism on frigid nights and using seeds collected and stored in their crops as an additional energy source through the coldest the night’s coldest hours. Females will remain sitting on a well insulated nest taking food from her mate to protect her eggs and young from extreme cold.

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