American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Eurasian Siskin – Alaska

The massive storm currently brewing in the Bering Sea, Nuri, seems to have dropped some birds on western Alaska. On Unalaska Island in the eastern Aleutians, a Dusky Thrush was found visiting a feeder in the town of Unalaska, prompting a search for more interesting birds.

The search paid off big time with the discovery of an ABA Code 5 Eurasian Siskin near Dutch Harbor among a flock of Pine Siskins and White-winged Crossbills.

Photo by Suzi Golodoff

Photo by Suzi Golodoff, used with permission

Eurasian Siskin has a vexed history in the ABA Area. At least two prior records from western Alaska (1978, 1993) are considered to be legitimately wild birds, but a number of records from the northeast US and Atlantic Canada have questionable origin. The species is a common cage bird in Europe and escapees are likely there. That said, there’s no reason to think that a bird on the Aleutians has any such provenance issues.

Other birds on Unalaska include the aforementioned Dusky Thrush (not refound today) as well as locally rare Bohemian Waxwings and a Black-billed Magpie, both of which could conceivably be of east Asian origin too.