Pine Siskin Close Up Photos

I am always glad when a bird unexpectedly flies in so that I can take close up photos because close ups show so much fine detail in their plumage and that is what happened earlier this week with a Pine Siskin.

Pine Siskin close up, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahPine Siskin close up – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I had been photographing a young bull Moose when I caught some movement with my peripheral vision and took my eye away from my viewfinder to find out what I was seeing and spotted this Pine Siskin on top of a Musk Thistle close to me and of course I had to photograph it! I focused on the siskin, hoped I had enough depth of field to get the face and front of the bird in focus and fired away.

Pine Siskin on a Musk Thistle, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahPine Siskin on a Musk Thistle – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I was only able to take 24 photos of the Pine Siskin before it flew away but I had great eye contact with the bird the whole time because I believe it was very aware of the long lens pointed at it and was checking me out.

I am seeing quite a few Pine Siskins up in the canyons of the Wasatch Mountains right now and I am hoping to take more photos of this species. Most of the time they are either too far away or too flitty for me to take high quality images of them but that wasn’t the case with this bird!

Life is good.


Some Pine Siskin facts and information:

  • Pine Siskins are small finches with brown streaked bodies with small patches of yellow and two white wing bars, their tails are notched, bills are slender and pointy. Sexes are similar.
  • Pine Siskins are migratory and irruptive. Irruptive meaning that they make unpredictable movements during the winter into southern and eastern North America and can be found in large numbers during those periods.
  • Pine Siskins during the nesting season prefer coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests, woodlands, brushy pastures, meadows, thickets and even suburban parks. During the breeding season they can be found in Alaska, across the southern parts of Canada, California, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, from Washington state east to the Great Lakes region and into New England.
  • Pine Siskins eat seeds of conifers, thistles, weed seeds, forbs, buds, spiders and insects. Pine Siskins can store seeds in the amount of 10% of their body weight to consume during the cold winter nights.
  • Pine Siskins lay 3 to 5 eggs which hatch in about 13 days. The females incubates and they are monogamous.
  • A group of finches can be called a “company”, “trembling” and “charm” of finches.
  • Pine Siskins can live 8 years or more.


  1. Charles Karaian August 13, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Great pics. Appreciate the educational points, too.

  2. Pepe Forte August 12, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Great shots Mia and your narrative is really interesting. Thanks.

  3. Patty Chadwick August 11, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    We had an irruption of them a couple of years ago…they cleaned out our thistle feeder daily…I told them to go back to Canada where they belonded, but they didn’t listen…

  4. Elephants Child August 11, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Yet another charmer.

  5. Catherine August 11, 2018 at 10:49 am

    We’ve had so few here on the Mendocino Coast these last few years. Nice to see them again, if only in your photos.

  6. Liz Cormack August 11, 2018 at 7:12 am

    As Kathy says, one of those “Plain Jane’s” until you look at the detail. Lovely series of photos.

  7. Bob mcpherson August 11, 2018 at 6:54 am

    Remarkable photos, Mia

  8. Kathy August 11, 2018 at 5:16 am

    This is one of those ‘Plain Jane’s’ of birds until you really look at their delicacy. So tiny and so quick! I’m always happy to see them at my feeders, sometimes in groups sometimes just a few.

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