Birds of conif­er­ous plan­ta­tions

Conifer plan­ta­tions do not sup­port a huge range of birds, but there are some key species that are nearly al­ways in most plan­ta­tion. Here are four species to look for in conif­er­ous wood­land.

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

Coal Tit

Our small­est tit species is not much big­ger than a Gold­crest. More of­ten heard than seen, feed­ing among the dense nee­dles high up in conifers, they have a va­ri­ety of ‘pew’-like notes, not wholly un­like those of the Siskin. Coal Tits have black heads with a broad black ‘bib’, white cheeks and a white line on the back of the crown. The back and wings are grey­brown and the un­der­parts buff.

Cross­bill

Ev­ery­one wants to see this big, thick-set finch. Males are red and fe­males green­ish yel­low (young­sters are streaked). All have the char­ac­ter­is­tic heavy, crossed-tipped bill. They feed un­ob­tru­sively on cones high in trees, but can be­come noisy in flocks in flight, when ‘chup chup’ calls gives them away.

Chaffinch

One of the UK’S com­mon­est birds, the Chaffinch is not too proud to oc­cupy this un­promis­ing habi­tat, and is typ­i­cally one of the most vo­cal birds among the ever­greens. Males are dis­tinc­tive and well coloured, even in the toned down plumage of win­ter. Fe­males (above) are spar­row-like, but have dis­tinc­tive white patches on the wings and white outer tail feathers, and share the an­gu­lar head shape of the males.

Siskin

The tiny Siskin is an­other finch which is fond of conifers. They are tit-sized, com­pact and short tailed. Males have a black cap and bib and are pre­dom­i­nantly yel­low-green. Fe­males are streaky and brown with yel­low/green tones. Lis­ten for the soft, rather sad-sound­ing ‘pew’ notes.

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