During the COVID-19 lockdown many people contacted Norfolk Wildlife Trust to share their sightings and photographs of the wildlife visiting Norfolk gardens. In particular people shared images of birds making the most of the bird feeders and nest boxes. During this period one observation we made was the fact that we were receiving more records of greenfinches, and this sparked the idea for the next spotter survey. We would love you to share your finch records with us – any greenfinch, chaffinch and goldfinch sightings.
Whether you are lucky enough to have them visit your garden, or you see them on your local patch, you can help us map sightings within our county so we can build a picture of where they are found.
How to spot a greenfinch: Greenfinches are large, chunky finches that are mostly olive-green, but with a yellow patch on the wings and tail. Females are grey-green with less yellow.
How to spot a chaffinch: The male chaffinch is one of the most colourful garden birds with a blue-grey crown, brown back and pink breast. Females are brown, but are less streaky than female house sparrows, and have white shoulder patches and wingbars.
How to spot a goldfinch: The goldfinch is a small, colourful finch that is gingery-brown above and pale below, with black-and-yellow wings, a black crown, white cheeks and a bright red face.
A common, large finch of gardens, parks, woodland and farmland, the greenfinch feeds on seeds, an...
One of the most common, indeed the second most common bird in the UK being widespread and abundan...
The goldfinch is a striking, small finch of gardens, parks, woodland, heathland and farmland. It ...
Recording wildlife is an easy way to get involved in wildlife conservation. It is a way of helping us to monitor wildlife across the county to gain an understanding of an animal’s distribution. Your sightings can help us identify areas which are especially important for wildlife and identify species in decline or under threat.
In 2005 the emergence of a disease called Trichomonosis impacted greatly on greenfinch populations (although it was also reported in a number of other birds including chaffinches). The disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas gallineas, with infected birds showing signs of lethargy, difficulty in swallowing and/or laboured breathing. People also report that birds visiting their garden feeders have wet plumage around their bill.
The advice for people who have infected birds visiting their gardens is to clean and disinfect feeders and feeding sights regularly. Also, to rotate feeding sites to prevent a build-up of waste food.
Although the greenfinch will visit a variety of different habitats to feed gardens do play an important role. According to the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) the decrease in seed availability in the wider countryside has seen a decrease in greenfinch numbers in farmlands. This decrease in seed means that the food provided for birds in gardens is important to greenfinches particularly during late winter and early spring when natural seed supplies dwindle.
According to the British Trust for Ornithology chaffinch numbers have dropped by 30% in eleven years from 2007 to 2018. The reason for this decline is not known, but it may be linked to the Trichomonosis disease that impacted on the greenfinch. The BTO are looking to carry out research to try and discover what is happening to this colourful garden visitor.
The chaffinch, which eats both insects and seeds, prefers to feed under bird feeders or along hedges, rather than visit actual feeders. It is a very distinctive bird, which has a variety of different calls and songs.
The goldfinch is a striking, small finch of gardens, parks, woodland, heathland and farmland. It eats small seeds, especially from ragwort, dandelions and teasels (their long, pointed bills help them to extract the seeds), as well as invertebrates. It will visit bird tables and feeders, too. During winter, goldfinches roam about in flocks of up to 100 birds, searching for food. However, some of our UK birds will migrate as far south as Spain to avoid the worst of the harsh weather.