Tag Archives: siskins

Male Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawk at the bird feeders

This rather wet Sparrowhawk decided he was going to sit out the rainy morning right next to the bird feeders. He has done this a couple of times in the last few months. Now I know that a Sparrowhawk in the garden would probably worry half the people reading this post. “That Sparrowhawk will kill all the song birds”, would be a common thought in reaction to the sight of this marvellous predator.

The reality is that the number of prey species control the number of predators and the presence of a top predator like the Sparrowhawk means there is a healthy population of the song birds upon which it feeds.

The pair that patrol my patch have had a relatively hard time this winter as the throng of siskins and other finches at the feeders have been so numerous that the Sparrowhawk is spotted long before he can get close enough to make a catch. What’s worse is that the siskins seemed to taunt him at every missed swoop, just keeping out of reach in the thicket of dogwood stems!

The siskins have gone and come back again!

It has been an interesting winter on the bird feeders with the usual range of tits and finches overthrown by a gang of siskins. From February until last week we had at least 40 of these feisty little birds take over the feeders. Neither bullfinch nor great tit was safe from these little brawlers as they dominated the sunflower heart feeders.

Then overnight they disappeared, back to the breeding woods in the hills. The goldfinches came out of hiding along with the bramblings and chaffinches. Normality returned.

Today a single pair of siskins arrived at the feeders. Now they may just be a late pair that were overwintering by the coast and taking a break en route or they may have decided that some of the local conifer plantations are suitable enough for nesting. In any case it’s a pleasure to see them again.