siskin defined in 1930 yearsiskin - Siskin;
siskin - Crown black; a broad yellow streak behind the eye; the plumage variegated with grey, dusky, and various shades of green; wings dusky, with a transverse greenish yellow bar, and a black one above, and a second black bar across the middle of the tertiaries; tail dusky, the base and edge of the inner web greenish yellow. Female: colours less bright, and no black on the head. Length, four and a half inches.
The siskin, or aberdevine, as it is also called, is known to us as a winter visitant, but it is better known as a cage than a free bird. In the British Islands it breeds in various places in Scotland, in pine and fir woods; it has also been found breeding in various localities in England and Wales. In Ireland it is not so common as in England. The siskin is a pretty, active, musical little bird, somewhat tit-like in its manner of seeking its food, its sociability, and the various positions it assumes in its search for small insects and seeds in the higher branches of a tree, or when clinging to the terminal twigs. As a caged bird his song is a small musical twittering; but in a wild state, in the pairing season, the male has a more charming performance, for he then soars about the tree, and, with fluttering wings and outspread tail, floats down singing to his perch.
The nest is built in a pine or fir tree at a considerable height from the ground, and so hidden as to make it very hard to find. There is a legend in some districts on the continent of Europe that the siskin places a small stone among its eggs, which renders the nest invisible. This legend reminds me of a belief of the peasants of southern South America, that the rail-like, spotted tinamou - a bird that easily eludes one's sight among the grey and yellow herbage - has the faculty of making itself invisible. The primitive mind is much given to explanations of this kind.
The nest, placed as a rule in the fork of a horizontal branch, is composed of rootlets and moss, on a foundation of bents and twigs of heather, and is lined with fine dry grass and a little vegetable down, sometimes with a few feathers. Five or six eggs are laid, pale bluish green in ground-colour, and spotted with dark reddish brown and pinkish grey under-markings.
In autumn siskins unite in small flocks and migrate southward; and during winter they are found widely distributed over the country, but are most numerous in the northern counties of England. At this season they may be seen associating on trees and bushes with goldcrests, redpolls, and titmice of different species.
Closely allied to the siskin and goldfinch, and in its colouring intermediate between them, but differing in having the crown, nape, and chin black, is the serin (Serinus hortulanus). It breeds in North and Central Europe, and is only known in this country as a rare straggler.
near siskin in Knolik
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