|Conservation status||Widespread and seems to be fairly common, but population trends would be difficult to measure.|
|Habitat||Conifers; in winter, other trees. Breeds in open coniferous forest, especially of spruce and fir; despite the name, not usually in pines in summer. In winter often found in deciduous trees (especially fruiting trees such as mountain-ash or crabapple), also in groves of pines and other conifers.|
Forages mostly up in trees and shrubs. Tends to be very methodical in feeding, moving about slowly in trees while feeding on buds, seeds, and fruits. Except during the nesting season, often forages in small flocks.
2-5, usually 4. Bluish green, spotted with brown, purple, and black. Incubation is by female only, about 13-14 days. Male often feeds female during incubation. Young: Both parents feed nestlings; during breeding season, both sexes develop throat pouches that allow them to carry more food at once. Young leave the nest about 2-3 weeks after hatching. 1 brood per year.
Both parents feed nestlings; during breeding season, both sexes develop throat pouches that allow them to carry more food at once. Young leave the nest about 2-3 weeks after hatching. 1 brood per year.
Seeds, buds, berries, insects. Feeds mostly on vegetable matter, especially in winter. Major items include the seeds of conifers and other trees, buds of many kinds of trees (such as maples), berries, wild fruits (including crabapples), sometimes seeds of weeds and grasses. Also eats some insects, mainly in summer. Will come to feeders for sunflower seeds and other items.
Male sings a mellow continuous warble to defend nesting territory. In courtship, male feeds female. Nest: Placed on horizontal branch or in fork of conifer such as spruce or fir, usually 5-15' above ground, sometimes as low as 2' in deciduous shrub or up to 25' high in tree. Nest is a bulky open cup made of twigs, weeds, rootlets, lined with fine grass, rootlets, lichens, moss.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Permanent resident in many areas; may withdraw from northernmost part of breeding range. Sometimes stages small "invasions" southward in winter, probably when food supplies fail in the far North.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
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Songs and CallsA 3-note whistle similar to that of Greater Yellowlegs.
Learn more about this sound collection.