Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Don Paul
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The pine siskin, Carduelis pinus, breeds in Mexico, the western United States, and Canada in coniferous forests. During non-breeding periods, this species wanders widely and appears unpredictably throughout North America. Even during the breeding season, its local abundance is somewhat unpredictable. In Utah, it is believed to occur statewide during all seasons.

This species typically forages in large flocks, eating primarily small seeds, but also eating tree buds, plants, and invertebrates. Courtship begins in late February, and nest building begins in March or April. Females build the nests of fine twigs, weed stems, and grasses; nests are lined with fur, feathers, moss, or other fine material. Nests are typically constructed on a branch in a conifer, and are often well hidden. Usually three or four eggs are laid and then incubated by the female alone for 13 days; males feed the females at the nest during this period. Young are fed for the first week by the female, with the male bringing food to the nest. Thereafter, both parents feed the young for 14 or 15 days, at which time the young leave the nest. The parents may possibly produce two broods during a single season.


  • Dawson, W. R. 1997. Pine siskin (Carduelis pinus). Birds of North America 280: 24 pp.

  • Baicich, P. J., and C. J. O. Harrison. 1997. A guide to the nests, eggs, and nestlings of North American Birds, Second Ed. Academic Press, San Diego. 347 pp.