British wildlife recordings
Carduelis spinus : Siskin - Fringillidae
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Old Dean Common, Camberley, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,160500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Siskin, Carduelis spinus
Calls and songs of siskins recorded on Old Dean Common, Surrey. Siskins are small, agile finches that are often seen flying restlessly through pine trees seeking conifer seeds, which are their main source of food. Over the last century the population and distribution of these birds has increased due to the introduction of commercial plantations. They are found throughout the year in Scotland and northern England, Wales and across Ireland. In winter their numbers enlarge due to seasonal visitors from the Arctic Circle. During the colder months they are known to rely upon yields of Alder seeds, which possibly explains the birds' alternative name of 'Aberdavine'. The species is gregarious and often forages with other finches such as Redpolls. Male birds display a vivid mixture of yellow-green feathers with bold black wing markings and characteristic black cap and chin. Females have stronger streaked, muted yellow plumage. The 'tszying' call is uttered during flight together with a sweet twittering song. During courtship males fly to a great height, displaying fanned tail and quivering wings. Females find this irresistible, following their mates closely. The nest is built by the female and is usually located high up toward the end of conifer branches. Although the hen incubates the three to five eggs, both parents take care in rearing the young.