It's been a good winter at my birdfeeders for American Goldfinches. I can glance out just about any time and I'll see at least a few of them feeding on the sunflower chips (no shells!) or the niger seed I offer in my feeders.
In the dim light of winter, It's easy to look at the feeders, see some small, finch-shaped birds picking out seeds, and just assume they are goldfinches. But this is the time of year when we need to stop and give those finches a second look. We just might be rewarded with another species of finch, like a Pine Siskin or a Common Redpoll.
So far this winter, it's been a single Pine Siskin showing up now and then. I look first for birds with a streaky back and wings instead of the solid dusky olive of the goldfinch. If the cap is red, it's a redpoll but lacking that, the pointier beak and yellow wing bar tells me I have a siskin.
There have been other years when the siskins are here in larger numbers, but this year, it has been only 1 at a time, hiding in plain sight amongst the goldfinches. Don't let that siskin go unseen - take a good second look at your goldfinch flocks this winter!