The Siskin: A Guide To Ireland’s Garden BirdsPetmania Pet Care Advisor
The Siskin is a resident bird in Ireland, and one of Ireland’s most widespread garden birds. Known as a ‘Siscín’ in Irish, it is found in forested areas, both coniferous and mixed woodland, where it feeds on all types of seeds, especially of alder and conifers. Additional birds arrive from Continent during the winter months.
In this blog post, we’ll guide you through how to spot a siskin in your garden, how to feed it, and the best way to care for it.
What Does a Siskin Look Like?
The siskin is a small, short-tailed bird, 11–12.5 centimetres in length with a wingspan that ranges from 20–23 centimetres. It weighs between 10–18 g. A small member of the finch family, the Siskin has a fine, pointed bill and deeply forked tail, which is easily visible in flight. The male will be bright yellow with a white belly and yellowy-green back, while the female has more muted colours and shows more streaks.
The young are a similar colour to the females, with drab colours and a more subdued plumage.
What Do Siskins Eat?
A lover of nuts and seeds, the Siskin will visit your peanut feeders, especially during the winter. They are also known to eat insects if they are available. This is often the case during winter when the ground hardens due to frost and food becomes harder to find.
When feeding the young they consume more insects such as beetles, as the proteins they contain help the chicks to grow.
How to Feed a Siskin
Providing a well topped up feeder of either Nyjer, Peanuts or Sunflower Hearts nearly always guarantees a late winter visit from the Siskins. They are known to be attracted by any peanuts initially, but showing a fondness for the other options on offer.
They also regularly adopt a feeding position that can help you spot them easier. They are as agile as any tit species, and have adapted to hanging upside down to reach birch and alder seed in the forest. They adopt the same position when picking at feeders.
Where Do Siskins Nest?
The Siskin’s nest will be found high in a coniferous tree on the fork of a branch. It is a bird that does not stay in one area for long, but instead varies the areas it uses for breeding and feeding, over-wintering from one year to the next. Siskins typically lay two broods of 4 or 5 blue or white eggs with brownish spots. Their nests are created from twigs and grass.
What Do Siskins Sound Like?
The Siskin’s song is a sweet tilu”, “tilu” call, which is often given in flight. It sounds particularly harmonious when Siskins are gathered together in a forest area, their preferred location.