Bird Facts:

Length: 9 cm
The female has a yellow crest.
Voice: A soft zee-zee-zee’ or louder ‘whit’.
Song: Composed of similar tones.
Size of Egg: 12.1—14.6 x 9.2—11.0 mm.

The Goldcrest, smallest of European birds (it weighs only 5 to 6 grams), inhabits most of Europe except Iceland and the northernmost parts of Scandinavia. In Spain, it is found only in the central parts of the country. It may be seen in pine and spruce woods, from lowland to mountain elevations up to the tree line. In winter it sometimes appears also in parks.

Though mostly a resident bird, some individuals from northern localities travel to southern or western Europe in winter. During the winter months: flocks of goldcrests flit about in the treetops. At the end of April, and often for a second time in June, pairs of goldcrests weave a fairly large structure of small twigs, stalks, moss, lichen, spiders’ webs and hairs.

The round nest, narrowing at the top, is carefully concealed in the thick branches of coniferous trees and, when viewed from above, appears to be closed except for a very tiny opening. There is good reason for this, for goldcrests must hide from jays and other predators as well their enemies— which often plunder as squirrels and dormice their nests. The 8 to 1 1 eggs are incubated by the hen for 14 to 16 days.

The young are fed small caterpillars, spiders and flies by both parents. When they are about 14 days old the young leave the nest and pass the night in the thick branches of a tree together with their parents. In winter the goldcrest feeds on insect eggs and cocoons it collects from tree branches. It is a very active bird with a good appetite.