This winter, British gardens are full of finches (Fringillidae). Seed-eating finches such as the siskin (Carduelis spinus) turned up more frequently than usual in the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey for January 2012. In fact, twice as many siskins were seen in gardens, compared to the previous three years’ January surveys.
Tim Harrison at BTO says the finches are hungry. We had a terrible year for the seeds that these birds rely on, just as we had a terrible year for the crops that our farmers rely on. That we all rely on.
As Mr Harrison says, if you want to know how the plants are doing, look at the finches. Put out seeds for them if you can. Then admire these pretty birds. He says, ‘The next few weeks will see some of the best garden birdwatching opportunities of the year, so keep your eyes peeled and please let the BTO know what you see.’