Backyard Bird Test
Here’s a little help identifying the difference between and goldfinch and a pine siskin. Couple simple points: In our area of NE Atlanta we have goldfinches all year round. They get a little scarce in late summer as they are breeding and there is a lot of natural food around. But from now (mid Feb) until Mother’s Day we will see them regularly on the Njyer (thistle) feeder.
The pine siskins show up in the south in the winter. They are about the same size as a goldfinch and like the goldfinch this time of year they have a little yellow in their wings. By the spring the pine siskins will start heading north and some will go all the way to the boreal forest to breed.
The tall tale sign between the two birds this time of year is the chest. If you notice at least two of the birds in the picture have a striped chest. This is indicative of the siskin, whereas the bird on the top right has a solid chest so it is probably a goldfinch. According to AllAboutBirds.org there is a male pine siskin from Guatemala that has the solid chest but given our location this is probably not him.