Birdwatch News Archive
Unprecedented numbers of Siskin are being seen in gardens across the country. Photo by John Harding (www.bto.org).
Fabulous finch floods into gardensBirdwatch news team
Posted on: 24 Jul 2012
The latest results from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey have revealed that record numbers of the forest-dwelling finch Siskin are being seen in gardens. The influx appears to be the result of a good breeding season, bucking the trend of poor mating success seen in many other species this year.
‘Citizen scientists’ have been charting an unprecedented movement of Siskins into gardens over the past few weeks. The BTO’s Garden BirdWatch gives an important insight into how and when birds use gardens and the resources they find there, and researchers have been staggered by the scale of this influx.
Mike Toms, BTO Head of Garden Ecology, said: “The scale of this movement into gardens has caught us by surprise. At this time of the year we would normally see Siskins reported from one in 20 gardens nationwide, but this year the figure has jumped to one in seven. In Scotland and Wales these delightful finches are being reported from roughly half of the gardens from which we receive weekly reports.”
He continued: “We believe that the influx stems from the combination of a good breeding season –Siskin is an early breeder so probably benefitted from the good weather at the start of the year. With the poor weather of recent weeks, the birds have probably turned to garden feeding stations because of difficulty in finding food elsewhere.”
The BTO has charted a long-term increase in Siskin numbers nationally, the birds benefitting from the extensive areas of conifer plantation that are now reaching maturity and producing seed. Siskins feed and nest in conifer plantations, their population having increased by 77 per cent since 2004 – a welcome success story in the wake of recent news of a Starling population crash and huge losses among farmland birds.
Siskin can be confused with the superficially similar Greenfinch; click here to download an identification guide to these green finches.
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