One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small songbird related to the goldfinch.
Genus Carduelis (and Serinus), family Fringillidae: several species, including the pine siskin (C. pinus) of North America, with dark-streaked plumage, notched tail, and touches of yellow on wings and tail
- ‘Seedeaters such as evening grosbeaks, goldfinches, and pine siskins prefer black oil sunflower and niger thistle.’
- ‘After a four-winter absence delightful siskins returned to our garden in 1994.’
- ‘On my way back to the tent I had a male siskin fly down to a puddle just in front of me.’
- ‘Niger thistle appeals especially to pine siskins, goldfinches, and purple and house finches.’
- ‘The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported an outbreak of salmonellosis in pine siskins in the Juneau area last month.’
- ‘Flocks of mixed finches including siskins bounced along the hedges and down to the wooded beck.’
Mid 16th century: from Middle Dutch siseken, a diminutive related to German Zeisig, of Slavic origin.
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