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rspb giving nature a home

Looking out for wildlife in April

March 2017

greenfinch on branch

April is a busy month for wildlife. We see the arrival of summer migrants like swifts, swallows and house martins. After long migration journeys they’ll be very tired so we can welcome their arrival by topping up the bird table with food and water.

Birds will be starting to nest, and materials for building will be gratefully received. For some extra help in making their home cosy leave out materials like pet fur, hair from your brush or comb and fluff from the tumble dryer.

Among the visitors to your garden you might have a greenfinch, a truly colourful character with its distinguished flashes of yellow and green. Males are the brightest in colours with greeny-yellow underpart and bright yellow wing edge, bright yellow edges to the tail. Females are a browner with the yellow wing edge, less striking than the males and slightly smaller. Juveniles have even duller colours; they are grey-brown but still show the yellow wing edges.

The greenfinch is a common countryside bird found in woods and hedges, and also close to man on farmland and in parks, town and village gardens and orchards. Only absent from upland areas without trees and bushes.

In recent years greenfinches have been hard hit by the disease trichomonosis, also known as ‘canker’, a parasite-induced disease which prevents the birds from feeding properly. Trichomonosis causes lesions in the throat of the infected bird, which makes it progressively harder for the bird to swallow its food.

greenfinch on birdfeeder

To best appreciate the colours up close you can put out food for them in your garden. Clean and disinfect your feeders and feeding tables regularly, wash them down with a mild disinfectant and hot water, rinsing them fully and drying them out before filling them back up with food. To find out more on how to make your garden a home for wildlife visit rspb.org.uk/homes

Find more RSPB stories here.


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