Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

We have had sightings of two winter birds this week. One being the junco or sometimes called the snow bird and the other are pine siskins.  
We don’t always see pine siskins (pictured), sometimes it’s every other or every two years when we have an “irruption” migration. Along with siskins, you may see red-breasted nuthatches or redpolls as well.  The two later have not been reported to Wild Birds Unlimited as of today.
Siskins are of the finch family and are striped on both front and back and have yellow streaks on the front.
 
Fun Facts About Pine Siskins
* Pine siskins become considerably plumper through accumulation of fat with the onset of winter. Each bird can pack enough seeds into its expandable esophagus to support itself through five hours of rest at –4º F temperatures.
* Pine siskins have difficulty opening the large seeds of striped sunflower but enjoy black-oil sunflower seed, chips and Nyjer. They have also been spotted eating Wild Birds Unlimited Birdacious Bark Butter, perhaps in a cup feeder and/or bits that have been set on a fly through feeder.
* The Pine siskin is the most common of the "winter finches" to be found at your feeders… but not every year. An “irruption” migration usually takes place every two or three years that can bring large numbers of siskins to your backyard.
* The Pine siskin irruption migrations mainly occur when the seed crop has failed in the boreal forests. In some years, large flocks may appear as far south as Florida.
* Some “irruptive” siskins may stay near a dependable food source and nest far south of the normal breeding range.
- The primary natural foods of pine siskins are the seeds of hemlocks, alders, birches, and cedars.

Fun Facts About Juncos
* Dark-eyed juncos are often called “snowbirds,” possibly due to the fact that many people believe their return from their northern breeding grounds foretells the return of cold and snowy weather.
* Dark-eyed juncos tend to return to the same area each winter. Chances are that you have many of the same birds at your feeder this winter that you had in previous years.
* Visiting flocks of juncos will usually stay within an area of about 10 acres during their entire winter stay.
* According to Project Feeder Watch, juncos are sighted at more feeding areas across North America than any other bird. Over 80% of those responding report juncos at their feeders.
* A study in New Hampshire on the foraging habitats of the slate-colored juncos found that they spent over 65% of their time on the ground, 20% in shrubs, 16% in saplings or low trees. They were never observed in the canopy of large trees.
* You can attract juncos to your yard by feeding a seed blend containing millet and hulled sunflower and Wild Birds Unlimited Bark Butter Bits on the ground or the butter put into a cup and on a fly through feeder.
Stop in and see us especially during our October Bird Food Sale!  Try some bark butter!
Happy Birding!
Karen Perry,
Wild Birds Unlimited, Onalaska, 608-781-5088