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Figure 35 Breeding distribution of the bullfinch in Wales.

Woodland management for birds: Priority species

Bullfinch

Resident

Status

  • Principal Biodiversity Species in Wales

  • The Population Status of Birds in Wales:

Red-listed38

Population trend and distribution

Fairly numerous in the lowlands, patchier in distribution to the west and scarce in the uplands (Green 2002). The RWBS data for Wales is a little unclear showing both a 268.4% increase (the RSPB) and a 8.3% decrease (BTO). The BBS shows a significant decline of 30% in Wales 1994–2007.

Species requirements

General: woodland edge and scrub habitats are used, particularly where fruiting and flowering shrubs and trees are present. They will occupy most broadleaved woodland types, and thicket-stage conifer plantations may be of particular importance in the uplands.

especially in winter, may affect bullfinches breeding in woodland and scrub. A reduction in the amount of shrub and ground cover, eg through grazing and browsing pressure, may make nests more vulnerable to predation and affect food availability. A loss of complexity and density in the structure of woodland understorey vegetation could have multiple effects, including reducing food availability and the amount of available cover for nests such that the risk of nest predation increases (BTO 2008).

Management advice

Nesting: nests are built in dense scrub or shrub layer trees, between 1 and 2 m above the ground.

Breeding season:

Mar

Apr

May

June

July

Aug

Sept

Feeding: a variety of fruits and seeds are used throughout the autumn and early winter, especially ash and hawthorn. Stubbles and fallows are also exploited where they are close to dense cover. From late January, they take leaf and flower buds as they form. Invertebrates are important in the diet of the young.

Conservation issues

  • A reduction in the availability of food,

particularly in neighbouring farmland,

Increase the extent or improve the quality of nest sites

  • Encourage the development of scrub, particularly at the woodland edge and along rides and glades.

  • Encourage a dense shrub layer by managing grazing and browsing, and planting and/or protecting suppressed plants.

Increase the extent or improve the quality of foraging habitat

  • Encourage the development of scrub, particularly at the woodland edge (which may require the management of grazing) and by planting favoured trees and shrubs, eg ash and hawthorn or larch in coniferous/mixed woodland.

  • Integrate woodland management with management of adjacent farmland to provide additional food resources, particularly in winter.

38.Preliminary assessment for 2008 revision of The Population Status of Birds in Wales. Red-listed.

84

Sue Tranter/rspb-images.com

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