Greenfinch – 2003-07 breeding

Chloris chlorisLlinos WerddBreeding resident and passage migrant

Comparison with previous atlas:

Breeding confirmed7069
Breeding probable134286
Breeding possible5728
No of tetrads occupied261 (of 478)383 (of 490)
Percentage of tetrads54.6%78.2%

Due to changes in agricultural practices, the greenfinch is becoming less common in farmland. Parks and gardens with tall trees are now the preferred habitat for breeding, especially if evergreen trees are present. The prevalence of such trees in towns and villages may be encouraging the birds to move there.

It was estimated that 4–5,000 pairs were nesting in the county during the 1984-88 survey. The distribution found during the 2003-07 survey shows an increase of 47% in the number of squares recorded, with an in–filling within the existing widespread range rather than any expansion. The 1984-88 survey estimated the density at 15 – 20 pairs per tetrad, if that estimate is still true then the increase in occupied squares would indicate an increase in the breeding population to c. 6–7,500 pairs. The BBS assessment of a 27% increase in the population between 1994 and 2002 would broadly agree with this.

A cautionary note should be added at this time, in some gardens birds are suffering from an infectious disease which can be fatal. How this may affect future breeding populations we will have to see.

Richard Dobbins

More about the Greenfinch in Pembrokeshire