Garden birdwatchers are seeing red

01 Mar 2013 | No. 2013-12

The delicate Lesser Redpoll is sweeping into a record number of gardens this spring, thrilling householders as it goes. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has produced a free factsheet to help people to discover more about this bubbly newcomer.

The finch family boasts many popular garden birds, including Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Bullfinch. More recently, a growing number of people have been able to add Lesser Redpoll to this list. Results collected through the year-round BTO Garden BirdWatch survey show a 15-fold increase in the use of gardens by Lesser Redpolls over the last few weeks compared with the same period five years ago.

The new BTO Lesser Redpoll Factsheet will help people to get to know this bird, including how to identify it, which can be a headache. Lesser Redpolls are by far the most frequently seen of the redpoll species in the UK, but occasionally householders will spot Common or even Arctic Redpolls. These birds all look similar so the factsheet highlights helpful distinguishing features.

Dr Tim Harrison, BTO Garden Ecology Team, commented: “Lesser Redpolls are a terrific addition to any garden, bringing with them lots of activity and lively twittering. They are sociable birds, often travelling with Siskins and Goldfinches during early spring.”

He added: “Their increasing use of bird feeders – particularly of nyger seed – is of considerable interest and importance because Lesser Redpolls are a species of high conservation concern. Early spring sees their abundance in gardens peak, so now is a great time to find out more about them.”

To request the free BTO Lesser Redpoll Factsheet, please email gbw [at] or telephone 01842-750050 and ask for the Garden Ecology Team.

Notes for Editors

  1. To view the Lesser Redpoll Factsheet please visit


    here (PDF, 334.66 KB)
  2. Find out more about Lesser Redpolls on BTO BirdFacts and Bird Trends.
  3. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.
  4. The BTO Garden BirdWatch is the only nationwide survey of garden birds to run weekly throughout the year, providing important information on how birds use gardens, and how this use changes over time. Currently, some 15,000 people take part in the project. The project is funded by participants’ contributions and is the largest year-round survey of garden birds in the world. For more information see

Contact Details

Dr Tim Harrison
(Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: tim.harrison [at]

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2013-12

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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