Species of the month: January - Siskin
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Common Name: Siskin
Scientific Name: Spinus spinus
Identification: The siskin is a small and active finch, roughly the size of a blue tit. Males have a bright greenish-yellow body with a black crown. Females are duller, without the black crown. Both sexes have striped undersides, a yellow bar on the wing (more conspicuous on the males) and a distinctive forked tail. Juveniles resemble the female, but are more streaked and buffer in colour.
Diet: Siskins are mainly granivores (seed-eaters) and generally eats seeds from cone-producing trees, such as alder, birch, spruce and pine. When raising their young, they focus their attention on insects, providing the nestlings with essential proteins they need to grow.
Behaviour: During the winter, siskins can form small flocks whilst they feed. They are quite bold at this time of year, and are not greatly disturbed by the presence of people near bird feeders (although it’s always best to give wildlife its space!). They are quite acrobatic, and will often hang upside-down on feeders. You’re more likely to see them in your garden on wet days – cones containing the seeds they like to eat stay shut in wet weather, so they will go looking for food at feeding stations instead.
Where can they be found?: Siskins are often found at the tops of trees in conifer plantations. Here they eat the seeds from the cones on the conifers, and also build their nests. In the winter though, they can frequently be found visiting feeders, so keep your eyes peeled in your own garden to spot these beautiful birds.
Wildife Gardening Tips:
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