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 Pine Siskin

Status in Michigan
Fairly Common Transient summer resident

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Pine Siskin.

Use the links below to view the Pine Siskin reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Pine Siskin sightings.
Pine Siskin Archives Reports
Fall 2003 86
Spring 2003 14
Winter 02-03 36
Fall 2002 1
Summer 2002 2
Spring 2002 72
Winter 01-02 293
Fall 2001 441
Summer 2001 3
Spring 2001 211
Winter 00-01 424
Fall 2000 203
Summer 2000 2
Spring 2000 43
Winter 00-99 212
Fall 1999 280
Spring/Summer 1999 12

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Pine Siskin

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Pine Siskin
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Pine Siskin
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Spinus pinus pinus (Wilson)
Northern Pine Siskin (A.O.U. 1998: Pine Siskin)

Status little known. Apparently a summer resident in the north; rare and irregular winter visitant throughout Michigan.

First recorded for Michigan by Kneeland (1857: 236).

SPRING,-Usually only a very small number of Siskins have been noted at any one time in spring. The chief northward movement apparently occurs in March and April, but sizable flocks have occasionally been noted in May. L. W. Campbell (1940:166, 198) gave April 29 as the average date and May 25 (1930) as the latest date for spring migration in the Toledo- Erie marsh area. Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were taken near Detroit (Tayerner, 1908a; 327-28) as late as May 19 in 1908, and at Ann Arbor (N. A. Wood and Tinker, 1910: 133) on May 17 in 1907; in the Ann Arbor region, the species has been common some years in the last week of May. Walkinshaw (1939: 110; 1941: 126) noted a flock of 55 in Convis Township, Calhoun County, on March 11, 1934. Gibbs (1885: 86) stated that the species usually appeared in Kalamazoo County in late April, and F. W. Rapp (1931: 22) listed it at Vicksburg in the same county, on May 4, 1928. In the north Bryens (1939: 103-4; and notes) reported 425 at McMillan, Luce County, on April 5, 1929.

SUMMER.-The records on file indicate an early nesting season: gathering of nest material has been noted by mid-April, egg sets have been found in late April, and flying young by June 12. Many of the late May and June flocks of northern Michigan may, therefore, be post-breeding wanderers rather than migrating birds; some may be non-breeding wanderers.

Lower Peninsula.-Dunham (1904: 69) observed the gathering of nest material on April 14, 1899, in Kalkaska County, and found 2 sets of 3 eggs each in the last week of the month. On a few occasions during June and early July of 1940, A. E. Staebler and L. D. Case saw 3 to 4 Pine Siskins, often with flocks of Goldfinches, on North and South Manitou Islands, Leelanau County, and collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) there. On June 18, 1938, on Gull Island of the Beaver group, Charlevoix County, Van Tyne collected a specimen (U.M.M.Z.) -with enlarged testes. The species was found in Crawford and Oscoda counties in August, 1903 (N. A. Wood and Frothingham, 1905: 50), and in July and August (rarely) in the Douglas Lake area, Cheboygan County (Linsdale, 1936:162; Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937).

Upper Peninsula.-In May and early June of 1925, and from June 7 to June 29 of 1927, Christofferson (notes in U.M.M.Z.) and Magee (1928:378-80) recorded hundreds of Siskins at Sault Ste Marie; on June 1, 1925, there were approximately 1000 there. In the same area, on June 12, 1918, Magee (1919: 237) saw 3 fledglings being fed by adults, and on June 17 a flock of 20 adults and immatures that stayed until July 15. In 1914 at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, N. A. Wood (1914: 68) observed the species on June 2, again on July 1, and almost daily thereafter, sometimes in flocks of from 50 to 100. Though there are no definite nesting data for other localities, the species has been recorded during the summer months at McMillan, Luce County (Bryens, 1939: 103-4; and notes); in Lake Superior State Forest, northern Luce County (Leonard Wing, 1940: 195; U.M.M.Z.; other data); and in Alger County during late May (N. A. Wood, 1918: 10; U.M.M.Z.). It was noted as sometimes abundant in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County (Christy, 1925: 213; S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 182); as common during July and August in the Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon County (N. A. Wood, 1905: 177; N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary, 1906: 117); and as present in the Black River highlands north of Ironwood, Gogebic County (Leonard Wing, 1940: 195; U.M.M.Z.). On Isle Royale, N. A. Wood saw 1 Siskin and collected 1 (U.M.M.Z.) on May 20,1930; and a few were noted there in July, 1904 and 1905 (Max M. Peet, 1909:365).

FALL.- Data on file are insufficient to indicate the time of migration in the Upper Peninsula. Max M. Peet (1909: 119) recorded the species on Isle Royale on September 18, and Bryens has usually noted departure from McMillan, Luce County, somewhat after the middle of November, but in 1937 as early as September 29. The species apparently reaches the Lower Peninsula in the latter part of October and in November. During the fall of 1937 and of 1938, at Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, Trautman occasionally observed individuals and small groups in October and November; he recorded 50 on November 6, 1938, which "were migrating singly, or in small groups, across Houghton Lake in a southerly direction." In the southernmost tiers of counties the species has seldom been reported before mid-October. About Battle Creek (Walkinshaw, 1939: 110; 1941:126) , it was noted by October 18. In the Ann Arbor region, arrival is sometimes recorded in early October, and in 1908, A. D. Tinker reported 6 birds on September 26, but the species is not usually recorded there until the latter part of October or in November. Groups of 3 up to flocks of 100, passing southward across the Detroit region, were reported during the second week of November, 1908 (J. Claire Wood, 1909d: 192-93; U.M.M.Z.). In the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 166, 198) noted the species as early as October 15 in 1938, but gave November 10 as the aver- age date of arrival.

WINTER.-The Pine Siskin has been found wintering irregularly in all sections of Michigan.

Upper Peninsula.-Laurence Dayton reported that during the colder part of the winter of 1936-37 the species was fairly abundant on Isle Royale. A specimen (U.M.M.Z.) was taken by L. C. Anderson near Iron- wood, Gogebic County, on December 30, 1932. Siskins were noted in "great numbers," and specimens (U.M.M.Z.) were collected in the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, in January and February, 1941 (S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 182; Manville, 1941: 240). At McMillan, Luce County (Bryens, 1929a;46; 1939:103-4; and notes), Siskins have been present some winters and apparently absent in others; 92 were recorded there on December 22, 1928. The species also occurs irregularly in the vicinity of Sault Ste Marie, and in other eastern areas (Christofferson, notes; Magee, 1919: 237). Christofferson collected 2 specimens (U.M.M.Z.) at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, on February 27, 1929.

Lower Peninsula.-From the Hunt Creek Experiment Station, several miles east of Lewiston, Montmorency County, J. W. Leonard reported the Siskin as "very plentiful now [January 12, 2023], especially near the station." Gibbs (1885: 86) found it occasionally in Kalamazoo County. Walkinshaw (1939: 110; 1941: 126) reported it an irregular winter visitant near Battle Creek; during 1934 a large flock spent the winter in the tamarack areas there. Fargo noted the species all winter in 1922-23 in Jackson County. In the Ann Arbor region (N. A. Wood and Tinker, 1910: 133; other data) a small number of Siskins has been observed in winter every few years. About Detroit (Swales, 1903: 38; Taverner, 1908o:327-28; J. Claire Wood, 19086; 473-74; 1909d; 192-93; 1910: 40), they have been common some winters, absent others.

Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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