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Hawfinch monitoring in the Forest

Hawfinch are a declining woodland bird, but do have a stronghold in the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley. 

This short film produced for us by Emily Bennett of the RSPB, and our Foresters’ Forest Birds Project Leader, introduces us to Jerry Lewis, a volunteer and licensed bird ringer for the British Trust for Ornithology. 

Jerry has been monitoring and ringing hawfinch for over 10 years, finding out more about these birds and what we can do to reverse their decline. 

Over the years, Jerry has ringed many hawfinch, one of which he recaught 10 years and 4 days after first ringing  – the UK’s longevity record.  Several birds have also been caught 8 or 9 years after ringing, and sometimes pairs are still re-caught together several years later.  Hawfinch travel around the area in search of food and it’s not unlikely to catch a bird at one feed site and then catch it a few days later at another 5 -10 km away.

We thank Emily and Jerry for sharing this wonderful insight about this vital bird conservation work!

Film – Hawfinch monitoring in the Forest of Dean

Emily Bennett, Assistant Warden /Assistant Conservation Officer, RSPB, Gloucestershire Reserves, also explains:

“Hawfinch rely heavily on trees such as hornbeam and wych elm that produce a high amount of seed.  Reduced diversity of tree species across the landscape is having an impact on the species by creating food shortages, so we have been working to plant more of these seed-rich trees in the Forest of Dean, to be able to give hawfinch better access to food throughout the year”

See also our news article ‘Creating new habitat for rare birds’