Record year for hawfinches

Male hawfinch at Sizergh
Published : 01 Dec 2017

The elusive hawfinch has been spotted around the country so why not head outside and see if you can help us track sightings?

Record numbers of hawfinches have appeared in the UK this autumn and there's no better time to get outside and try your chances at spotting one. With the birds making the most of autumn fruits and clear weather, our rangers at Fyne Court, Somerset, Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, Sizergh, in Cumbria and the Slindon Estate in West Sussex have recorded recent sightings.

Nature specialist Matthew Oates, says, 'There has been an unprecedented influx of these shy and secretive birds to our shores. The keenest of birders may only spot a handful of hawfinches during years of birdwatching but right now, everyone has a chance.'

'If you’re at a loose end what to do this weekend, get outside to try and catch a sight of these enigmatic characters – it may be quite a while until such an opportunity comes round again.'

This rare bird has seen dramatic decline in numbers over recent years, attributed to poor seed crop yields in other parts of Europe. There are thought to be fewer than 1000 pairs of hawfinch native to the UK.  Renowned for their parrot like bills, which are able to crack the hardest of shells, they are sometimes referred to as the nutcrackers of the bird world.

Anyone who spots one of these birds is encouraged to share their sighting online via @HawfinchesUK