Monday, 7 January 2019

Irish Garden Birds - Humble House Sparrows

We're near the midpoint of this years Irish Garden Bird Survey now. It's been mild until late, but as temperatures drop and food runs out in the wider countryside you can expect greater numbers and diversity of species to be visiting your garden in the coming weeks.


This weeks species profile is the humble House Sparrow! Some people don't get these birds in their garden at all, but if you do they're probably there in good numbers!




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Species Profile: House Sparrow

As Gaeilge: ‘Gealbhan binne’
Irish Garden Bird Survey Ranking 2017/18: 9th place
Conservation status: Amber-listed in Ireland due to declines at European level.

Male House Sparrow (B Burke)


Did You know?
  1. The House Sparrow is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world. It is native to Europe and much of Asia, but was introduced by humans to Australia, parts of Africa and the Americas too.
  2. House Sparrows are very social birds. In summer they nest in close association with other pairs. You can buy special 'terraced' nestboxes to accommodate them. In winter they flock together.
  3. House Sparrows are predominantly seed-eaters. Over the centuries they came to realise that there is often seed available around farm buildings and dwellings, leading to a close association with humans and the 'house' in their name. Their association with humans is thought to date back around 10,000 years
  4. Recent research has shown the species has declined drastically in many urban areas - thought to be linked to air pollution and poor diet. See here for more details.
  5. House Sparrows can fly at around 45km per hour.
Female House Sparrow (B Burke)


How long do they live?
The oldest known House Sparrow in Ireland and Britain was a bit over 12 years old, but on average they only live around 3 years - similar to a lot of our garden bird species. 




What do they feed on? 
House Sparrows are predominantly seed-eaters, but will often eat various scraps from the garden, as well as peanuts. During the summer they will eat some insects, particularly when feeding their chicks.


A flock of House Sparrows on a peanut feeder (B Burke)


Irish Garden Bird Survey Trends:
Over the last 20 years of the Irish garden bird survey, House Sparrows have drifted between 7th and 12th place, coming in around 10th place on average. That means that around 82% of Irish gardens have recorded House Sparrows in the last 20 years. They seem to be doing slightly better in recent years, which fits in with their 'moderate increase' status as seen during the summer via the Countryside Bird Survey'.



Numbers don't really vary much over the winter, with gardens getting an average of 6-7 birds each week.





The graph above shows the percentage of gardens in which House Sparrows have been recorded - occurrence has increased slightly in recent years to around 85%.


Movements and Migration:

House Sparrows are largely sedentary and there have been few if any recoveries of House Sparrows ringed in Ireland being recorded abroad, or vice versa. In fact, House Sparrows usually winter within around 20km of where they breed or were born, so those ones in your garden probably aren't from too far away.


For the 15-20% of gardens who don't get House Sparrows in the winter, this is probably because you don't have them nesting nearby. 


How can I help House Sparrows?
The best way you can help House Sparrows is to provide them with additional nesting space via a nestbox. House Sparrows like to nest near each other, so if you have House Sparrows either visiting or already nesting in your garden then you can put out a few nestboxes on the same wall for them. Alternatively, you can buy a 'terraced' nestbox for them from our BirdWatch Ireland shop, which is essentially three nesting compartments in one box. 

A terraced nestbox like this, with three nest compartments, is available to buy in the BirdWatch Ireland shop. 






In older houses, House Sparrows can nest in the eaves and guttering. If you'd rather they didn't, then block up the hole outside the breeding season (i.e. now!) and put up some nestboxes to give them an easy alternative to nest in! 


House Sparrows often nest in the eaves and behind the guttering of old houses. (B Burke)


When it comes to putting out food for House Sparrows, peanuts and seeds are the way to go!





A male House Sparrow and a Coal Tit enjoying some mixed seed. (B Burke)


Lastly, to help House Sparrows and your other garden birds you can become a member of BirdWatch Ireland. Membership makes an ideal Christmas gift – one that keeps on giving throughout the year.
With your membership pack you'll get a free gift, posters of Irish Birds, loads of information on how to attract birds to your garden, and our famous Wings magazine will be delivered to your door four times per year. 

Under 18's and family memberships will also receive our 'Bird Detectives' magazine twice a year, filled with fun and educational activities!


BirdWatch Ireland membership pack.


I hope you've learned something new about House Sparrows through this species profile - if there's a species you'd like us to cover later in the winter please let us know on facebook or twitter!


And if you're not taking part already, consider taking part in our Garden Bird Survey this winter - and spread the word to friends and family - the more the merrier! 

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Irish Garden Birds - The Christmas Robin


Happy Christmas to all of our members, followers, friends, and most importantly participants in the Irish Garden Bird Survey! We're now in Week 4 of the survey. As the winter continues, temperatures drop and food in the wider countryside is depleted, birds will be more and more reliant on your gardens in the coming weeks - so keep your eyes peeled!

For anyone away from their garden over christmas, don't worry if you miss a week or two of the survey - just continue again when you do get home! 


Given the week that's in it, there was only bird that could be species of the week.... 
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Species Profile: Robin

As Gaeilge: 'Spideog' 

Irish Garden Bird Survey Ranking 2017/18: 1st place - recorded in every single garden! 

Conservation status: Green-listed in Ireland, with around 3 million pairs breeding here each summer. 

Not photoshopped! This photo, by Ian Wilson in the UK, is of a Robin with partial leucism - a genetic condition giving it white feathers, that just so happen to resemble a white beard!












Did You know? Robins & Christmas

As we all know, Robins are very strongly associated with Christmas. But do you know why?

  • One of the reasons is that Robins are one of very few species that sing all year round, meaning they really stand out at this time of year.
  • Another is that they're so common and closely linked to gardens and towns. Every single one of the gardens that took part in 10+ weeks of the Irish Garden Bird Survey last year had at least one Robin! They're quite confiding too, so happily come within a few feet of people - unlike other species.
  • Their colour helps too! The splash of red on their breast is very noticeable, especially in the dull winter months. The red berries of Holly have been associated with christmas and winter pagan festivals for the same reason.
  • In Victorian England, where most of our modern Christmas traditions came from, the postmen wore long red coats. As christmas approached, and more and more letters and christmas cards were being sent, people would eagerly look out for the red-clad postmen. At the same time, Robins were very noticeable in the gardens and towns, so people began associating the two and affectionately referring to postmen as the Robins. Over a hundred years later and Robins are still popular on the front of christmas cards and as decorations on wreaths and trees! 
  • Given their colour and winter song, Robins were considered to represent the new year in pagan and pre-christian tradition, and the Wren was thought to represent the past year. This is one of the reasons we have "Wren Day" on St. Stephens Day.


Robin. Photo by B. Burke

Other (non-Christmas) facts about Robins: 

  1. Though we are used to Robins that are quite confident and confiding around humans in the garden, that's only the case in Ireland and the UK. Elsewhere in Europe, Robins are often quite shy and are a true woodland bird.
  2. When it comes to singing, Robins are usually one of the first species to start singing in the morning and one of the last ones to stop. Where there is artificial light from buildings and street lamps, they can be heard singing during the night.
  3. Robins have more than one brood per year, and in some cases the male can be feeding the first brood while the female is incubating the second clutch!
  4. Their latin name is Erithacus rubecula - meaning 'solitary little red one' - very apt! 
  5. Their territoriality really does come down to them 'seeing red' - the red colour of other Robins is largely what triggers their aggression, and they've been known to attack objects like socks and handkerchiefs with a similar red colour during the breeding season. When Robin chicks fledge, they have a speckled brown appearance, but no red yet, which stops them getting into a fight when they wander into an adult's territory! 
Adult and fledgling Robin. Photo by C. Timmons

Robin. Photo by B. Burke


How long do they live?

The oldest known Robin in Ireland and Britain was 8 years, 4 months and 30 days old, but their typical lifespan is only 2 years - much shorter than people think. Incredibly, the oldest Robin in Europe was over 19 years old, ringed in the Czech Republic and killed in Poland.


What do they feed on? 

As a traditional woodland bird their preference is for insects to feed on, but they will readily come to bird feeders with seeds, peanuts, fruit and fat ballsMealworms are a good food to give them, and some people have managed to 'train' their garden Robin to take mealworms from their hand!




Irish Garden Bird Survey Trends:


Robins have been in 1st place in 17 of the last 20 winters of the Irish Garden Bird Survey. Two of those years they shared first-place with the Blackbird. In the other 3 years they came a very close 2nd, behind the Blackbird. On average over the last 20 years Robins have been recorded in over 99% of Irish gardens! 



Robin. Photo by D. Owens

They're common in gardens throughout the full 13 weeks of the garden bird survey (i.e. Dec-Feb), with a slight increase as the weeks go on. It's likely that by the latter weeks of the Garden Bird Survey many Robins have paired up and are thinking of breeding, so that's another reason why you're probably only seeing one Robin in your garden at the start of the survey but are regularly seeing two by February.



This graph shows the average number of Robins per garden during each year of the Irish garden bird survey – a pretty stable trend down through the years, with occasional spikes in numbers after a good season (they can be pretty prolific breeders when the weather allows!)







Movements and Migration:

In Ireland, Robins are largely resident. In general the males will stay put all year round to hold their territory, and many females will leave the breeding areas in the autumn and return in spring. The females don't usually travel very far, but will seek out an area with higher survival chances (i.e. good food supply, warmer temperatures etc) but that maybe wasn't suitable during the summer as they lacked sites for nesting. A very small minority of Robins, largely female, may also move abroad for the winter.

We also get a small number of Robins from northern Europe; some moving through in autumn on their way further south in Europe, and others staying put for the winter. This occurs more so in colder winters.

Robins from Britain & Ireland caught elsewhere.


How can I help Robins?

It's worth remembering that this is actually a good time of year to put out nestboxes in advance of next year! Robins use a specific type of nextbox with an open-front, ideally 1-2m off the ground and placed in a dense shrub or somewhere else that provides shelter from weather and predators - amongst thick ivy or creeping plants should also work. Wrens and Pied Wagtails might also decide to use this type of nestbox, or Blackbirds if the nestbox is big enough.

You can find designs to build your own nestbox on the BirdWatch Ireland website here, or alternatively we sell a number of different types of nestboxes in our shop that are sure to suit your garden – see our selection here.


Robin. Photo by K. Murphy
Given their dominance at the top of the Irish Garden Bird Survey charts every year, it's no surprise that Robins are more than happy to avail of a variety of foods supplied in gardens - mealworms, peanuts, seeds, fruit and fatballs. 






Singing Robin Soft Toy







This year we also have the very popular singing Robin soft toy! They're soft and cuddly and play a Robin call when you squeeze them! Get them at our shop at the link below, while stocks last.






Call into our shop in Wicklow or get in touch at info@birdwatchireland.ie to see if we have your favourite species in stock!




Lastly, to help Robins and your other garden birds you can become a member of BirdWatch Ireland. Membership makes an ideal Christmas gift – one that keeps on giving throughout the year.
With your membership pack you'll get a free gift, a poster of Irish Garden Birds, a poster of Irish Sea Birds, a pin badge, loads of information on how to attract birds to your garden, and our famous Wings magazine will be delivered to your door four times per year. 

Under 18's and family memberships will also receive our 'Bird Detectives' activity magazine twice a year, filled with fun and educational activities!










I hope you've learned something new about Robins through this species profile - if there's a species you'd like us to cover later in the winter please let us know on facebook or twitter!


And if you're not taking part already, consider taking part in our Garden Bird Survey this winter - and spread the word to friends and family - the more the merrier! 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Irish Garden Birds - Glamourous Great Tits

So we're in the second week of the 30th annual Irish Garden Bird Survey. There's still plenty of time to take part - see full details here. As well as being a lot of fun, you can help us monitor the status of some of our favourite bird species during the tough winter months.

We'll be doing a series of 'species profile' blogs over the winter to help you learn more about the birds you're seeing in your garden - first up is the Great Tit! 

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Species Profile: Great Tit

As Gaeilge: ‘Meantán Mór’

Irish Garden Bird Survey Ranking 2017/18: 6th place
Conservation status: Green-listed in Ireland and 'secure' at European level.

Great Tit (B Burke)


Did You know?
  1. It's possible to seperate the male and female Great Tits based on their plumage. Males have a thick black line down the centre of their belly, that joins between the legs, but it's a thinner and more broken line on females and doesn't join between the legs.
  2. Males with thicker black stripes down their breast are more dominant, make better parents and are more attractive to prospective mates. 
  3. Great Tits have one of the most recognisable calls of all our garden birds - sounding like the words 'teacher-teacher'.
  4. They're the most widespread of the Tit species, found across almost all of Europe, parts of North Africa and as far east as Japan and south to Indonesia too. Across that range there are around 30 different races of Great Tit, with different variations on colours compared to our Great Tit. 
  5. Great Tits try and match their nesting activities with the peak period of caterpillar availability. Parents will deliver well over 10,000 caterpillars to their broods in the three weeks it takes for them to fledge. Imagine trying to find 10,000 caterpillars!!! For this reason, birds breeding in natural woodland have more chicks than those using nestboxes in urban areas, because there's more vegetation and more caterpillars in the woodlands. 

Female Great Tit, recognisable by the black stripe tapering off at the bottom. (B Burke)

Male Great Tit, recognisable by the thick black stripe that joins between the legs (M Finn).




How long do they live?
The oldest known Great Tit in Ireland and Britain was a month shy of being 14 years old, but their typical lifespan is around 3 years.










What do they feed on? 
Great Tits prefer to eat insects like caterpillars, butterflies, beetles, flies and other invertebrates such as spiders. They're traditionally associated with broadleaf woodland there the invertebrate life would be abundant! When invertebrates aren’t readily available they'll also eat seeds and fruits from deciduous trees and shrubs.

In winter they'll happily feed on seeds, peanuts and fat balls at bird feeders.



Great Tit with caterpillar (photographer unknown - let me know if its you so I can credit appropriately)



Irish Garden Bird Survey Trends:

Looking at the last 20 years of the garden bird survey, Great Tits have occurred in an average of 93% of gardens each year, giving them an average ranking of 5th place each year (range 4th - 7th place). So they do 'Great' (pun intended) every year, but still a few percent behind their Blue cousins! 

Each garden gets an average of 2 Great Tits and the numbers don't really change much over the winter. We don't really get any Great Tits arriving from other countries, so they're pretty evenly spread throughout much of the country after the breeding season. 




Movements and Migration:

Great Tits from Britain & Ireland caught elsewhere.
Irish Great Tits are more or less sedentary - i.e. they don't leave the country for the winter. The Great Tits you're seeing in your garden this week likely bred or hatched within around 4km of your garden this summer. In years where there's a particularly poor beechmast crop in continental Europe we will get some birds coming here in search of sufficient food. This seems to be happening less and less often however, likely because of the increased provision of food in gardens means those birds struggling for natural food no longer need to leave the country. 



How can I help Great Tits?

Great Tit feeding chicks in nestbox (D Coombes)
Great Tits are originally a woodland and hedgerow bird, and nest in holes in trees and walls where available. This type of nesting habitat can be effectively re-created by nestboxes, and many variations are available. If you want to attract nesting Great Tits, nestboxes with a small hole (28mm) are recommended. You can find designs to build your own nestbox on the BirdWatch Ireland website here, or alternatively we sell a number of different types of nestboxes in our shop that are sure to suit your garden – see our selection here.



When it comes to putting out food for Great Tits in your garden, they really aren’t fussy and will happily eat sunflower seeds, peanuts, fatballs etc – see our full range of bird food on our website here. Great Tits only weight around 18g, so the food in your garden is very valuable to them in the colder weather!




This year we also have the very popular singing Great Tit soft toy! They're soft and cuddly and play a Great Tit call when you squeeze them! A nice stocking filler and a great way to learn this bird's song.  Get them at our shop at the link here, while stocks last



Lastly, to help Great Tits and your other garden birds you can become a member of BirdWatch Ireland. Membership makes an ideal Christmas gift – one that keeps on giving throughout the year.
With your membership pack you'll get a free gift, posters of Irish Birds, a Greenland White-fronted Goose pin badge, loads of leaflets on how to attract birds to your garden, and our famous Wings magazine will be delivered to your door four times per year. 

Under 18's and family memberships will also receive our 'Bird Detectives' magazine twice a year, filled with fun and educational activities!




I hope you've learned something new about Great Tits through this species profile - if there's a species you'd like us to cover later in the winter please let us know on facebook or twitter!


And if you're not taking part already, consider taking part in our Garden Bird Survey this winter - and spread the word to friends and family - the more the merrier! 

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Irish Garden Bird Survey - Your county needs you!


The Irish Garden Bird Survey begins on **Monday the 3rd of December**, and we want you (and all your friends, family and neighbours) to take part!



We're really excited about this winter's Irish Garden Bird Survey. First of all, this winter is the 30th year of the Irish Garden Bird Survey, making it the longest-running citizen science research project in Ireland. Second of all, we're delighted to welcome the Ballymaloe Group on board as sponsors for the survey this year ! 


Every year hundreds of people take part in the survey, making it Ireland's most popular citizen science research project. Anyone who has taken part in recent years will tell you that the survey is easy and it's fun, so get involved from the start this winter and I guarantee you'll be glad you did! 

If you've taken part before, why not get your family, friends or neighbours to take part too? 



As far as bird surveys go, they don't get any easier than the Garden Bird Survey because the birds come to you! You can do it from the comfort of your kitchen window, in the mornings before school and work, and on the weekends too. See below for full details: 


How to take part:

  1. The survey runs from December to February - the coldest most wintery months, when birds are especially reliant on gardens for shelter, food and water. 
  2. Each week you just have to record the species you see on your feeders or in your garden, and the highest number of each species you see at any one time. 
  3. So if you see 1 Blue Tit today, but 3 tomorrow - then 3 is your total for Blue Tits this week. If you see 7 Goldfinch today and only 6 tomorrow, then 7 is your total for Goldfinches this week.
  4. The survey runs on a weekly basis, so every Monday you start over again! Don't worry if you miss a week or two - as long as you can do 10 of the 13 weeks then you'll still be giving us great data!
  5. It doesn't matter if you don't know all of the species in your garden yet - the survey is a great way to get to grips with them!
  6. *You can download the survey form here* or enter your results online here.


Garden Bird participants by county - lower numbers in the green counties, highest numbers in the red counties.




Make sure your county is represented in the Irish Garden Bird Survey! 



The greater the variety of gardens that take part in the survey, the more robust our results will be. We have the highest numbers of participants in the red and orange counties in the map above, with lower numbers in yellow and light-green areas, and the lowest participation at present in the dark-green counties. Help boost your counties representation by getting your neighbours, friends and relations to take part!

We tend to have more participants from counties/provinces with bigger populations, but there's still loads of people out there who could be taking part


Garden Bird Events

Lastly, if you want to learn more about how to feed your garden birds, BirdWatch Ireland staff will be speaking to our Wicklow, Laois and Roscommon branches on the dates below. We'll be happy to answer any questions you might have, and events are open to non-members too, so do come along!





Wicklow
- East Coast Nature Reserve, Newcastle - Sat 24th November @ 10am

Laois - Parish Centre, Portlaoise - Tues 27th November @ 8pm

Roscommon - Hannon's Hotel, Roscommon town - Thurs 6th December @ 8pm





Monday, 5 March 2018

The Irish Garden Bird Survey 2017/18 is now finished!


Despite what last weeks weather might have you believe, winter is coming to an end! Birds are starting to sing and pair up, and some are even nest-building (though they had other priorities last week...). Perhaps the biggest indicator that the winter is nearly over is that the Irish Garden Bird Survey is now finished for another year!

Don't forget to send your garden bird counts to us as soon as possible!!

Singing Robin - usually the most common bird in Irish gardens. Photo by B. Burke


This years Irish Garden Bird Survey started on the 4th of December, running for 13 weeks and finishing up yesterday. Hundreds of you have taken part, and many of you were treated to some interesting additions to your species list as a result of the snow last week - many people reported Meadow Pipits, Linnets, Snipe, Redwing, Fieldfares and even Lapwing as newcomers to their garden on friday and saturday. It's been great to hear about these unusual visitors, and we very much look forward to analysing all of the data in due course to really paint a picture as to how this winter has been compared to the years before.


With that in mind - please send in your garden data as soon as possible!! Regular participants will know that there are three ways to send in your data:




1) Through our online system at the link here:



2) Post in your form to us at: 
'Irish Garden Bird Survey, 
Unit 20, Block D, 
Bullford Business Campus, 
Kilcoole, Greystones, Co. Wicklow '


3) Or scan your recording sheets, including the one with your address etc, and email it to us at: 
gardenbirds@birdwatchireland.ie

If you've lost your recording sheet, or don't want to damage your copy of Wings, you can download a copy of the form here*Garden Bird Survey Form 2017/18*



Blue Tit - One of the most numerous species in Irish Gardens. Photo by B. Burke


The more eagle-eyed among you will notice the donation slip at the bottom of your form. We receive no funding to run the Irish Garden Bird Survey, to prepare the forms and the articles, to enter the data and to analyse the results, but we know it's a survey that is hugely important to the Irish public in general. With that in mind, please consider enclosing a donation with your garden bird survey form - however small. Your donation will help ensure we can continue to run the Irish Garden Bird Survey into the future. You can also make a donation over the phone - phone: 353 (0)1 2819878

We need your donations to help us to keep the Irish Garden Bird Survey going each year.

Male Blackbird - common in gardens during winter, and now thinking about pairing up for the breeding season! Photo by B. Burke


It was really heartwarming to hear of the genuine concern everyone had for birds and wildlife in the midst of Storm Emma and 'the Beast from the East' last week, and the lengths people went to to keep their garden birds fed. Please do remember that BirdWatch Ireland are fighting on behalf of Irish birds and wildlife throughout the year, and we can only do that with the support of our members.

If you're not a member already, please do consider joining us and adding your voice to support Irish birds and biodiversity. As part of your membership you'll receive our 'Wings' magazine, garden bird posters and leaflets, and loads more goodies.

Mothers Day is coming up, and a BirdWatch Ireland membership would make an ideal gift that keeps giving throughout the year!

BirdWatch Ireland members receive four copies of our 'Wings' magazine throughout the year, as well as loads of other goodies when you join! 



Friday, 2 March 2018

Irish Garden Birds - Gregarious Greenfinches

We hope you and your garden birds and making it through this very cold spell of weather. If you have any questions, we have prepared some information on looking after your garden birds during cold weather on our website at this link. And if you have any worries, feel free to ask us questions via our facebook page.

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Species Profile: Greenfinch

As Gaeilge: Glasán darach

Irish Garden Bird Survey Ranking 2016/2017: 15th

Conservation Status: Green-listed in Ireland. The European population is regarded as Secure by BirdLife International. Has been impacted by outbreaks of Trichomoniasis recently, with declines in northern and western Europe in the last 12 years.

Greenfinch. Photo by D. Dillon


Did You Know?
  1. Since 2005, Greenfinches in Ireland and the UK have been increasingly impacted by the Trichomonas  parasite. It causes disease in the back of the throat and mouth, which prevents the bird from feeding. Affected birds often appear fluffed up and lethargic, and the disease seems to be almost always fatal. See here for more info.
  2. If you see a Greenfinch, or other species, that looks sick you should take in your feeders for a week or so, and clean them thoroughly with a mild bleach solution. See here for more info.
  3. The increasing popularity of garden feeding has been credited with an expansion in their range further north in Scandinavia.
  4. Back in Victorian times they were widely trapped and kept in captivity, along with other finch species.
  5. Other local names for Greenfinch inlcude Green Linnet and Green Grosbeak.
  6. Historically they would have been a bird of woodland and forest edges, but in recent decades they've expanded to take advantage of food and habitat in hedgerows, towns and gardens.

How long do they live?
Greenfinches generally live for about two years. The oldest recorded Greenfinch in Ireland or the UK was 12 years and 9 months old!


What do they feed on?
Their big bill is an indicator that Greenfinches like large seeds. Where available they enjoy Rosehips, Yew and Hawthown, as well as Bramble. So if you're doing up your garden this spring, keep these species in mind! They will also enjoy sunflower seeds, and to a lesser extent peanuts, when provided in garden feeders.



Greenfinch. Photo by F. Mullan

Irish Garden Bird Survey Trends:
Greenfinch numbers tend to fluctuate quite a lot in recent years, and a lot of this is likely down to the spread of Trichomoniasis. As numbers increase in one year, the disease spreads more easily, and more birds get infected and die as a result. Their highest ranking was 5th place in 1999/2000, and they were in 6th place in several years up to 2005/06, but it was around then that Trichomoniasis reared its ugly head and numbers have suffered ever since.

Average number of Greenfinch per garden during the Irish Garden Bird Survey.


Movements and Migration:
As you can see from the map below, there is some movement of Greenfinch each year. Birds from Norway escape the cold and move down into the UK and Ireland, whilst some Irish and UK birds will head for France and the continent. Most of the Greenfinch that breed here don't move very far though!
Locations where Greenfinches from Ireland and the UK were caught elsewhere in Europe. See https://blx1.bto.org/ring/countyrec/resultsall/rec16490all.htm

How can I help Greenfinches?
Greenfinches regularly visit gardens during the winter, and will enjoy sunflower seeds, whether in hanging feeders or scattered on the ground. They will also eat from peanut feeders. Remember to keep an eye out for sick Greenfinches (or other finch species) and it's good practice to give your feeders a good cleaning every week or two to minimise the risk of disease transmission.


Greenfinches feeding. Photo by D. Owens

Irish Garden Birds - Humble House Sparrows

We're near the midpoint of this years Irish Garden Bird Survey now. It's been mild until late, but as temperatures drop and food ...