Eurasian siskins (Spinus spinus) are small, colorful songbirds that are commonly found throughout Europe and Asia. These birds are known for their striking plumage, which features bright yellow-green feathers on the males and duller brown-green feathers on the females. But what do these birds eat? In this article, we will explore the diet of the Eurasian siskin in detail.
Natural Diet of Eurasian Siskins
In the wild, Eurasian siskins primarily feed on seeds, especially those from coniferous trees such as spruce, pine, and fir. They have specialized bills that allow them to extract seeds from cones with ease. The birds use their sharp beaks to pry open cone scales and then use their tongues to remove the seeds inside.
Apart from coniferous seeds, Eurasian siskins also feed on other types of seeds like birch, alder, and nettles. They may also supplement their diet with insects during breeding season when they need extra protein for building nests and feeding their young.
The Role of Seasonal Changes
The diet of Eurasian siskins changes with the seasons. During winter, when food is scarce, they rely heavily on coniferous seeds. In spring and summer, when more food is available, their diet becomes more diverse, and they may supplement their seed intake with other foods like insects, berries, and fruits.
Human Influence on Diet
Eurasian siskins have adapted well to human-modified landscapes and can be found in gardens, parks, and urban areas. Here, they may feed on a variety of birdseed mixes that contain millet, sunflower seeds, and other grains. Some people also put out nyjer seed, a type of oil-rich seed that is a favorite of many finches, including Eurasian siskins.
However, it’s important to note that not all birdseed mixes are suitable for Eurasian siskins. Some mixes may contain large amounts of filler seeds like wheat and corn, which the birds cannot digest well and may lead to health problems. It’s best to provide them with a mix that is specifically formulated for finches and other small seed-eating birds.
If you want to attract Eurasian siskins to your garden, there are several supplemental foods you can offer them. Here are some options:
1. Nyjer Seed:
As mentioned earlier, nyjer seed is a favorite of many finches, including Eurasian siskins. Offer it in a specialized nyjer feeder that has small openings to prevent spillage.
2. Sunflower Hearts:
These are dehulled sunflower seeds that are high in protein and fat. They are a great source of nutrition for siskins and other small birds.
- 3. Suet:
Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat. It is especially beneficial during winter when birds need extra energy to keep warm.
4. Fruit and Berries:
During summer, you can offer fresh fruit like apples, pears, and plums as well as berries like raspberries and blackberries.
Eurasian siskins are primarily seed-eaters that rely on coniferous seeds in the wild. They also supplement their diet with insects during breeding season and may eat other foods like fruits and berries when they are available. In human-modified landscapes, they can be attracted to birdseed mixes that contain the right types of seeds. Supplemental foods like nyjer seed, sunflower hearts, suet, fruit, and berries can also be offered to attract them to gardens and provide them with additional nutrition.