By Andy Hargreaves


The RSPB says that Scilly is now one of the top four places for greenfinches in Britain.

It seems that our geographic isolation is protecting the birds from a killer parasite that has been spreading on the mainland.

All the places where high numbers have been found are islands.

50,000 people took part in the charity’s nationwide bird count in January.

It reveals an average of two greenfinches in each Scilly garden compared to just one in every two gardens on the mainland.

It’s the fifth most sighted bird here in the islands but it fails to make the UK top 10.

Jaclyn Pearson from the Seabird Recovery Project says it’s likely that the disease Tricho monosis hasn’t made it to Scilly yet. It’s passed from beak to beak.

But she’s asking islanders to look out for signs of it’s arrival, which are unpleasant – the birds don’t feed and die quickly.

If you have seen signs of the condition, you should do what you can to discourage birds from congregating.

That means stopping putting out food and if you have a bird feeder it should be cleaned in washing-up liquid or hot, soapy water.

The count has also revealed that Scilly’s number one bird is the house sparrow. Surprisingly, their numbers aren’t so high on the mainland any more.

Farming changes and building renovations that have removed loft space has been blamed.

Jaclyn reckons the amount of cake crumbs on offer from outdoor cafes in Scilly could be helping to sustain our numbers of the garden bird.