(click on photos to enlarge)
Eurasian Siskin (left) and Pine Siskin (right)
It took a few minutes and a few field guides to sort him out. Very few Eurasian Siskins have been reported from around the western Great Lakes in the last decade. A quick on-line search turned up these:
- May 5, 2004 - Whitefish Point, Michigan
- Apr 14, 2005 - Bay Co., Michigan
- May 10, 2005 - Red Lake, Ontario
- Jan 10, 2006 - Iron, Wisconsin.
Julie Craves has documented a "rash" (HT to Darrin) of Old World "cage birds" - European Goldfinch, Chaffinch, European Greenfinch & Great Tit - sightings in our region. These observations increased markedly after 2002 when, it's been alleged, an importer of cage birds released his stock from a facility north of Chicago. That's only 730 km south of here and thus a very plausible origin for this and other European finches sighted along the north shore of Lake Superior. It may surprise some to learn that feral populations of European Goldfinch and Great Tit are now nesting in Illinois and Wisconsin.
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Some other Old World finch sightings from the north shore
Last month (March 24, 2010) Ron Lacey photographed this European Goldfinch (south Asian form) at his feeder in Murillo (west of Thunder Bay).
Courtesy of Ron Lacey.
A year ago (April 15, 2009), K. Drake photographed a European Goldfinch at his feeder here in Marathon.
European Goldfinch in Marathon. Photo courtesy of K. Drake.
Courtesy of Bill Climie, here's a Chaffinch photographed on May 4, 2004 at Silver Islet, on the Sibley Peninsula, east of Thunder Bay.
Chaffinch at Silver Islet. Photo by Bill Climie.
A second Chaffinch was seen on May 4, 2009 (five years later, to the day) at the nearby Thunder Cape Bird Observatory.
Photo by James Barber.
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Request for sightings of other Old World songbirds
If you know of other occurrences in northwest Ontario of European Goldfinch, Brambling, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Eurasian Siskin or other Old World songbirds, please contact us through the "comments" button below.
- Craves, J. A. 2008. Current status of European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) in the western Great Lakes region. North American Birds 62:2-5. (PDF)
- McLaren, I. A., J. Morlan, P. W. Smith, M. Gosselin, and S. F. Bailey. 1989. Eurasian Siskins in North America - distinguishing females from green morph Pine Siskins. American Birds 43:1268-1274. (PDF)
- Thanks to K. Drake and Ron Lacey for permission to use their EUGO photos. Visit Ron's photography site here. Thanks also to Bill Climie and James Barber for the use of their Chaffinch photos.