[Ontbirds] nesting siskins etc ...

Geoff - Birds avocet at rogers.com
Thu Apr 23 09:11:45 EDT 2009

Well. it looks like at least one of my 3 pairs of siskins has nested successfully (although I never did find the nest). An adult was seen feeding a begging young bird today in my yard. Couldn't see what the food was but it was tiny and it wasn't offered until the young bird had urged the parent over a period of at least 3 minutes, involving 5 solicitations. The other two pairs are still doing courtship flights and chasing away potential interlopers!

Also two female and one male cowbird (BHCO) were observed nest searching today. I think the target was a Song Sparrow (SOSP). The SOSP sat by intently watching the search but did not chase the birds or sing or call - silent observation only. The females BHCO sat on the top of the cedar hedge and every few seconds poked their heads through the foliage and scanned left and right. When this failed to find a nest, they entered the hedge from the top and dropped down a few inches and I could see the branches move as they further searched. At one point the male did the "top down" search and then the "enter the hedge" one. After about 3 minutes the male left the site, followed about one minute later by one of the females. After another 2-3 minutes, the other female left. Both females looked like they had eggs ready for laying based on their distended abdomens. I don't think they were successful as they left looking as heavy as ever. The male SOSP has yet to find a mate so I don't think a nest was even present. Alternatively, maybe they were after another species' nest - Pine Siskin maybe - but there has never been any indication that the siskins were nesting in this part of my yard.

Enjoy the emerging nesting season!

Geoff Carpentier
Ajax, Ontario 

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