Friday, 5 April 2013

Ringing Hawfinch

Numbers of Hawfinch in N Wales fluctuated year on year, last year there were barely any, the year before there were 20+ mainly at Llanbedr-y-Cennin or Caerhun, but they must be elsewhere too.  This year up to 17 have been seen at the former, a popular spot especially for year-listers in January but the birds linger well into April before dispersing.  They are ringed at a couple of other spots in Wales with a surprising turnover of birds before any retraps so there's undoubtedly more than you think.  There's been a couple of recent 'controls' of Norwegian birds-see link below.

With kind permission of a landowner we've had a few attempts in LYC and caught 4 birds along with a host of other bits and bobs.  The Hawfinches staying nearby with or without a net up.  Here's a few recent pictures: 

5 female above compared with 6 male below (next 2 pics: Pete Wood). See the shape and gloss on seconds and tertials. 

Full adults have square tipped tail feathers- pic to follow. See that gloss in the wing again. Those eagle-eyed might spot traces of blood on the fingers- an occupational hazard for ringers putting fingers too close to a bill as shown below.  They're big! When cherry and yew stones are usually on the palette, a finger doesn't really stand a chance! 
See the difference in the tail feathers to the female above.  Much squarer ended on these two males caught at the same time.
Check out the BTO Cymru blog for more on Hawfinches ringed in Wales plus the 2 Norwegian controls:

5 female from Sat April 5.



  1. Interesting stuff. Any more info on the colour ringed birds seen in a garden with chicks (in the link)?
    Cheers, Mike.