06 January 2010

An old friend returns to Cimla

Let me introduce you to "Budgie." We have named him this because of his bright yellow forehead and cap, which is normally black in adult male Siskins. This plumage mutation sets him apart from all the other Siskins that visit our garden and is the only colour mutation that I have noticed in Siskins. His distinctive appearance has allowed me to get to know him quite well.

He first turned up in the garden in October 2008 and was seen almost daily with other Siskins up until 19th April 2009. He didn't spend a great deal of time in the garden, often coming an hour before dusk to have a quick feed. Although we get small numbers of Siskins, including juvenile birds, throughout the summer months we never saw him among them at that time. Presumably he spent last summer somewhere else.
Budgie returned to the garden this winter on 17th November 2009 and has been seen on an almost daily basis since then, but he has been particularly prominent during the recent snowy days. Siskin numbers in the garden this winter have peaked at 34 so far (compared to 35 last winter) but it is likely that many more visit over the course of a day.
Budgie is distinctive in appearance and we are always extra pleased to see him in the garden and hope he will return for more winters to come. He's not as quarrelsome as some of the other siskins in the garden, but he is fit enough to hold is own and he is in not subordinate to the other normal-plumaged males.

1 comment:

Barry Stewart said...

Old 'Budgie' must have caused a bit of stir when he first appeared - how bizarre! A few winters back there was a Chaffinch that showed up displaying African Chaffinch-like features at a feeder in Carmarthenshire.