Goldfinches are now garden regulars

CELIA WIGG The meteoric rise of the goldfinch up the pecking order in the gardens of Britain has been highlighted by new survey.

CELIA WIGG

The meteoric rise of the goldfinch in the gardens of Britain has been highlighted in a survey.

Once a rarity, the species has for the first time leapt into the top 12 birds visiting garden feeders, joining the robin, blackbird and blue tit, according to the Thetford-based British Trust for Ornithology.

David Glue, BTO research ecologist, said: "This is a wonderful success story. Our gardens now ring with the goldfinches' wind chime-like song, making them sound more like those in the south of France."

But there have been losers as well as winners in the trust's garden birdfeeding survey - published in the latest edition of its magazine BTO News - with house sparrows and starlings slipping to their lowest ever attendance figures.

However, it is good news for the goldfinch. When the survey began in 1970, it was ranked at 33. By the mid-80s it had risen to 25th, soaring to 17th in the 1990s. Today, the goldfinch is one of the commonest birds to visit birdfeeders, occupying 11th position in the table.

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Another high flier, the collared dove, in eighth position, was seen in 90pc of gardens compared with only 60pc in the 1970s. The robin topped the survey, closely followed by the blackbird and the blue tit.

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