Good spring for Cornwall's Greenfinches?

01 Jun 2014 | No. 2014-33

Despite the fact that they are declining across the country, Cornwall’s Greenfinches seem to have had a very good spring. In order to work out why, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch needs the public’s help.

Cornish Greenfinches have experienced similar
results to those in the rest of the country

Cornish Greenfinches have experienced similar results to those in the rest of the country, with the population dramatically declining since 2005 due to a disease known as trichomonosis. The decline has been extremely noticeable in gardens across the country, and BTO Garden BirdWatch average weekly counts for the nation have dropped from between four and five individuals a week, before the disease struck, to fewer than two.

However Greenfinches in Cornish gardens seem to have had a boost this spring with the highest numbers of Garden BirdWatch gardens reporting them since 2010. Whilst the peak percentage of Garden BirdWatch gardens reporting Greenfinches this spring was around 60%, in Cornwall it was 70%. Will they continue to do much better in the west country? We don’t know – and that’s why your help is needed!

BTO Garden BirdWatch is the world’s largest year-round survey of garden birds, having run every week since 1995. Anyone who enjoys watching the highs and lows of their garden birds is welcome to get involved in this simple survey, and your sightings can contribute to our knowledge of how birds like Greenfinches are faring. 

Clare Simm, of the BTO Garden BirdWatch team commented: "Watching birds in your garden can be like watching your own mini soap-opera. The squabbles, the friendships, the family bonding – it’s incredibly interesting and fun to discover."

She added: "If you spend a few minutes each week watching what birds get up to in your garden, then you are already doing enough to take part in the BTO Garden BirdWatch. Get in touch with us for a free magazine and information pack on how to take part."

For a free BTO Garden BirdWatch information pack, which includes a copy of our quarterly magazine, please contact gbw [at], telephone 01842 750050, or write to Garden BirdWatch, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Notes for Editors

  1. 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 14,500 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
  2. Greenfinches have been declining throughout the UK since 2005. You can see more detail about the decline and trichomonosis here: and here
  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.

Contact Details

Clare Simm
(BTO GBW Development Officer)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: clare.simm [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 2014-33

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

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