French name: Tarin des aulnes
The Siskin is an attractive member of the Finch family. The male Siskin has a distinctive forked tail, a yellow-green streaked body and black bib and crown. Females are very similar in colour though slightly more streaked and grey, they do not have the black crown and bib.
Siskins are seeds eaters and particularly feed on seed from conifers and it is in conifer forests that they tend to breed. Nests are made by the females high in a conifer tree. A Siskin nest is small and made from twigs covered with lichen, feathers and fine roots. Siskin eggs are smooth and glossy, pale blue in colour with lilac and pink spots. There are usually 2-6 eggs in a clutch with incubation taking 11-14 days. The young fledge after 13-15 days.
Although mainly a resident in France throughout the year, the Siskin population does increase in winter when they are joined by migrating Siskins from other European countries.
Siskins are commonly seen in the garden during the winter months when food is short in the forests. Siskins prefer to hang to reach their food. To encourage them to feed in your garden ensure you have seed balls hanging from a tree or your bird table. This little fellow was happily enjoying a fat ball in our garden here in La Corrèze at the weekend.