For the last few years at least, Siskins have been regular visitors to gardens overlooking Mill Lane in Bridge at this time in the seasonal progression, and they have been observed here again this week.
In summer, breeding pairs of Siskins are more generally recorded in the west and north of Britain where they eat the seeds of coniferous woodland, now found mostly in Scotland and Wales. In autumn and winter, native birds spread right across Britain, and they are joined by incomers from mainland Europe to feed on the seeds of deciduous trees, particularly alder and birch, together with seeds from other wild plants including thistles. Another reason for this cross country spread, and indeed the fact that Siskins seem to be generally thriving, may be the increase in appropriately stocked garden feeders now kindly provided by the public in every part of the country over the difficult winter months.
Studying records held by the British Trust for Ornithology, we may conclude that during winter the observation of Siskins in East Kent should be considered uncommon rather than rare; however, from late spring and through into the summer, any sighting of these birds in our locality should be regarded as a rare event indeed. According to our own records, the Mill Lane Siskins appear to depart each year before the summer sets in.