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A frequent visitor to garden feeding staions in winter and to hedgerows in summer

Peter Orchard

Whilst looking at your garden bird feeders you surely cannot over look the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris). It is a bad tempered species that is reluctant to share with anyone and it will stand its ground against all comers!

In the shade they can look a bit nondescript, even dowdy, but in the sunshine they are revealed as a beauty, dressed in glorious shades of green and yellow. The male becomes even more brightly coloured as spring draws nearer. They are related to the canary.

Currently number 9 in the RSPB Garden Birdwatch with an average of 1.39 per garden. Fifteen years ago it averaged over three per garden and stood at number 5 but in recent times, notably since 2008, numbers have fallen quite dramatically. Their numbers have been reducing due to a form of salmonella poisoning which they may get from garden bird feeding stations; in trying to support them we may actually be killing them. There is hope, however, that the worst is now behind them and that population levels may be beginning to recover. We must see what the 2015 count reveals.

Having greenfinches in your garden is good news/bad news! The good news is they are attractive birds to look at and fun to watch, the bad news is that they eat a tremendous amount of seed between them so get your cheque book ready. They seem to eat one seed and then throw the next one on the floor; the ground feeding birds do not mind this in the least.