Saturday, 19 March 2016

Bird of the week - Siskin

There have been plenty of siskins around in the garden this week and the males have been singing.

Siskins (Carduelis spinus or Spinus spinus) are the smallest finches I see but are very feisty and readily fight for their place on the feeders.
  They will take nyger seeds but prefer sunflower hearts.  These two close ups are of ringed birds.

Over the last 50 years or so the siskin's range has been expanding south and east from its original stronghold in the Scottish Highlands, aided by maturing conifer plantations and its adaptation to use of garden bird feeders.  In the winter it is now fairly widespread.

Its breeding distribution is more restricted.

The number of siskins in gardens varies greatly from year to year but generally peaks in March.

Last winter was very poor for seeing siskins in gardens - due, in part at least, to the exceptionally good sitka spruce seed crop.  This year so far has been better than average.

Listen to the song of the siskin here.  Listen to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on siskins here.

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