Sunday, 10 November 2013

Goldfinches keep on coming

A bit of ringing in the garden over the weekend produced another 23 new Goldfinches and only 2 retraps. The number of Goldfinches ringed in the garden this autumn now stands at 282 which is the highest total by far and double the number ringed there last year. Juveniles have made up the bulk of the birds ringed with only 19 of the 282 new birds being adults. In addition 5 birds ringed last year have been retrapped. One of the juvenile Goldfinches caught today still hadn't completed its post juvenile moult and must have come from a very late brood.


Juvenile Goldfinch, still quite spotty around the head
In stark contrast to the Goldfinch totals the single House Sparrow caught was only the 4th ringed in the garden this year. How the tables have turned between these two species. When I started ringing in the 70s Goldfinches were not a garden bird and House Sparrows were very numerous. In fact there was a restriction on ringing House Sparrows at that time and you could only ring them if they were in moult and you completed a moult recording card. In those days you would see them on the corner of almost every roof but now you can travel large distances through a town without seeing any and there doesn't seem to be any halt in their decline.

male House Sparrow
Ringing totals for 9th/10th November
Goldfinch 23 (2)
Blue Tit 2 (1)
Greenfinch 2
Coal Tit 1
House Sparrow 1
Blackbird 1
Long-tailed Tit (2)
Great Tit (1)
Totals 30 (6)

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