Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bullfinches - They are still with us

When I was a boy Bullfinches were not a scarce species in Suffolk.  Indeed in the fruit bearing orchards there and across the country they were considered a pest.  Their spring habit of nipping the emerging buds from fruit trees found them actively persecuted.  Before protection laws they would either be shot or trapped in especially constructed cages and disposed of later.  I remember a Cage Bird Society getting very annoyed that they could not trap this species and use it for showing or to cross with Canaries to produce mules. 

Male Bullfinch

Bullfinches are now protected and sadly many of our commercial orchards have been grubbed up and replaced by fields of cereals.  In East Anglia Bullfinches have become scarce.  This is not the case in our part of Wales.  Driving down the local lanes it almost an everday occurrence to catch a glimpse of the shiny white rumps of these birds as they fly across the road. Often on still summer evenings you can pick up the soft whistle of these birds as they forage in thick cover.  They seem to like the coniferous plantations here too which is a bit surprising.

Female Bullfinch

Today a female Bullfinch appeared at our feeders.  It seems the pair we have each year nesting nearby will be with us again.

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