The Siskin of the alders is a magnificent little bird very present in the gardens and the forests. Dynamic and lively, he lives in a group and flies by performing beautiful artistic acrobatics. Sociable, he can live in a house, but in a large aviary which will leave him enough space to fly. Discover the characteristics of this little singing bird and learn how to breed it in your home.
What does a Siskin bird look like?
The Alder Siskin, or Spinus spinus , is a small bird of the Finches family that likes to live in groups. Small in size, with its 11 to 13 cm and its 10 to 14 grams on the scale, it has an average life expectancy of 11 years and it is recognizable by its brightly colored plumage, although it is often confused with the Serin cini.
As with most species of birds, the male is more colorful than the female. Indeed, it has a green plumage on the top and yellow on the belly, with yellow traces on the wings and tail, as well as a black bib and crown. The female is duller and without black parts. In this small passerine, the size of the crown is of social importance. Thus, the larger it is, the higher the animal is placed in the hierarchy of its group. Finally, the bill is short, small and conical to allow it to easily catch and eat the seeds of conifers.
A sociable and gregarious animal
The Siskin likes to live and move in groups that can bring together dozens of individuals. This particularly sociable animal sees it as a good way to protect itself from predators, especially the European hawk.
The Alder Siskin is known for its harmonious, undulating, almost artistic flight. It is a very active and lively animal, able to attach itself to the branches of trees while performing a whole lot of acrobatics. This helps him feed on the seeds of the conifers he loves.
Very noisy and talkative, the Alder Siskin utters more or less melodious cries when it flies, but also during the love display in order to seduce the females.
The reproduction of the Alder Siskin
The Siskin nests between the end of March and the beginning of April. The female lays 3 to 5 eggs once or twice a year, between April and July. She takes care of them alone and incubates them for 13 to 14 days, then the chicks are fed by both parents for the first two weeks of their life, the age of emancipation.
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How to breed the Siskin at home?
The Siskin of the alders is an animal that can be found in almost all forests, woods, parks and gardens in France, with a predominance for those furnished with alders, conifers and birches. In winter, it comes closer to houses in search of food. If you want to attract it to your garden, offer it seed mixes that you will place in a red container, more visible.
It is preferable to have a large aviary to breed a pair of Siskins, at least 2.50 meters high, 1.20 to 2 meters wide and 0.80 to 1 meter deep. Indeed, these animals need to fly every day and dance in the air without constraint. Being gregarious, it is not recommended to raise an individual alone, because he will let himself be wasted. It is recommended to have several aviaries for reproduction or to be able to isolate the male during the brooding, otherwise it may disturb the female and make her nervous during this crucial period.
Decorate the cage with wicker nests suspended from the wire netting or in the corners. Do not hesitate to fix space-saving perches so as not to hinder the flight and branches of thuja to allow them to settle there and decorate their nests.
What do siskins eat – A varied diet
The Alder Siskin feeds on the seeds of alders, elms, and birches, as well as those of dandelions and thistles. Mixtures of germinated seeds such as millet, niger or flax can be given to him. During the breeding season and for the youngest, the diet can be supplemented with insects, especially small ants. Cuttlefish bones are also a good source of calcium.
Finally, it is essential to renew the water of the Siskin every day, because it loves to bathe and soils it very quickly. As a precaution and to avoid disease, offer him a drinking trough and one or two small shallow tubs in order to properly separate the two functions.
Image by Herbert Bieser from Pixabay