Siskins & catkins


The -kins are getting together. Siskins are little finches that are partial to eating seeds. Catkins are pods of seeds hanging from some broad-leafed trees. The two are clearly kins

Pine Siskins are with us year round. They travel in large flocks that settle on plants to eat seeds, and on winter highways to sip salt and get mashed (see bird brains).

A lone Pine Siskin uses its feet to hold a catkin still as it extracts seeds from it.

Where there is one siskin, there are dozens. These are raiding the catkins of alder birch. 

OK, this Pine Siskin is not raiding catkins, but I couldn’t resist the scene. 


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4 Responses to Siskins & catkins

  1. Trevor Goward says:

    Thanks Alistair

    Nor can I resist complimenting you on that final pic: an honest to goodness classic!

    Take good care.

    P.S. I think those may be birch catkins – black birch? – rather than alder.

  2. Gordon Lightfoot says:

    For vegetables like myself, it is often difficult to tell a cat from a kitten.

  3. VH says:

    Came home from shopping in the Big City (Nelson) and there was a large flock on the edge of my carport, eating gravel. An old timer/birder around here told me they eat gravel on the dirt driveways and garage floors. We honked to pull in , but even then I think a few flew out between the wheels, and all the time I was thinking of your ‘suicide’ post. Next day, found a dead one down the drive, almost frozen to the snow, but not enough to stop my cat from snatching it. Roadkill? Air accident?

    We have a huge linden, and a very large birch, and for a month now the choices have been black sunflower seed, linden, carport gravel. The birch weeps….

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