Can you help with the BTO survey on Goldfinches?

Over recent years, there has been a marked increase and decrease in certain garden bird species. Those that have increased in population include songbirds such as blue tits, great tits, long tailed tits and, of course, the great spotted woodpecker, which has increased greatly since the 1970s. In notable decline are greenfinches, bullfinches and song thrushes.

While there’s certainly a clear increase in numbers of certain species of garden bird, there are many that are still in decline. Despite this, one of our most characteristic avian friends, the goldfinch, has stood out from the crowd and bucked the general trend. The problem is, we’re just not sure why.

So, the British Trust of Ornithology has asked for recruits to help out with their investigation into the ‘mystery’ increase of goldfinches. One common theory is that supplementary feeding is helping these birds to thrive, although there are many other environmental factors, such as changes to landscapes, which may also influence goldfinch feeding behaviour.

So what can you do help out?

First, make sure you’ve downloaded the relevant materials from the BTO website.

One recent study led by the BTO has noticed that blackcaps appear to consume greater amounts of garden bird food, in particular fats and sunflower hearts, and such eating patterns has led blackcaps to deviate their winter migratory patterns north to the UK.

So the aim is to find out what’s happening with goldfinches and the BTO survey, located here, will attempt to answer this question.

Goldfinches love seed, so a great starting point is to make sure you have quality bird seed available over the winter months. This will help you to monitor goldfinch activity in your garden so you can submit your observations to the BTO website.

Take the goldfinch survey here.

The Goldfinch Feeding Survey will run between November 2015 and February 2016, so now is the time to stock up and help your goldfinches.