Our Red Siskin Conservation Center has a new native plant nursery!

June 7, 2023 by Bárbara Santana

This year, in an effort to expand the reach of the Red Siskin Conservation Center, we have built a native plant nursery in collaboration with Tracy Aviary. 

The goal of the nursery is to provide high-quality nutrition and behavioral enrichment for our red siskins, promoting their development by stimulating normal physiological processes and reducing their dependence on specialized supplements and foreign seeds. Maintaining birds on foods they would encounter in the wild also helps us prepare for future successful reintroductions.

Why is it so important to feed our red siskins native food plants? 

Many of our birds are rescued from the illegal trade.  They are  confiscated wild birds that are most familiar with native plants for food. Our nursery ensures their welfare, by providing food they are accustomed to. At the same time, our captive-bred red siskins can become familiar with food sources available in nature, thus facilitating conditioning and preparing the flock for  future reintroductions.

In addition, we aim to preserve genetic diversity in this threatened species, but red siskins only reproduce when all their nutritional requirements have been met. Our new native plant nursery ensures this, and provides our birds the sense of plenty they need to prepare for the breeding season. 

Finally, the plant nursery improves our operational resilience and environmental impacts,since cultivating our own food sources is  less expensive, more reliable, and has a lower carbon footprint than relying on imported, commercial food supplies. Our birds can now look forward to delicious meals such as dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and el clavelito (Wedeliaambigens) for years to come. Thanks Tracy Aviary for your invaluable support!