Posted 21st Jan 2016 by Peter Byrne
Following a record number of goldfinches seen in gardens this winter, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is looking to find out just what's attracting them
The Goldfinch Feeding Survey, which has been running for the past two months, suggests it is thanks to sunflower hearts that we are seeing more and more goldfinches landing in our gardens.
This striking bird can be identified by its bright red face and yellow wing patch, often see on bird tables and feeders.
The BTO's Garden Bird Watch (GBW) survey found that goldfinches were seen in a record 61 per cent of gardens by the end of December, compared to an average of 52 per cent for the last decade. The results so far show that sunflower hearts are the most popular food type in gardens, with 40 per cent more records than nyger seed.
Goldfinch Feeding Survey Organiser Clare Simm said: 'Thousands of people have taken part in our survey so far, providing us with valuable information about what might be behind the dramatic increase in the garden goldfinch population. We’re also interested in how the feeding habits of goldfinches changes over the winter, and with the survey running until the end of February, there’s still time for people to take part.'
So what can you do? Simply keep an eye on goldfinches landing in your garden and let the BTO know what they were feeding on. Find out more and how to take part by visiting www.bto.org/goldfinch-survey.
[Lead photo: John Harding/BTO. Right photo, Liz Cutting/BTO]