Help check out 'invader'

SCANDINAVIAN INVASION: The Siskin might be spotted in your garden. Photo by John Harding

The Peregrine Falcon now nesting in Worcester.

First published in Features

NATURE WATCH.

A SMALL yellow and black bird is invading gardens across the UK.

The Siskin has crossed the North Sea in large numbers this winter in search of food and is finding it at feeding stations around the country.

The British Trust for Ornithology, who monitor the movements of Britain's birds, would like to know the true extent of this invasion.

If you have seen a Siskin in your garden, or indeed several Siskins, the BTO wants to know.

The Siskin one of the smallest members of the finch family, normally feeds on pinecone seeds in the Scandinavian forests. This winter the pine trees have produced a very poor crop, prompting these birds to cross the North Sea and invade Britain's gardens.

Results from the BTO/CJ Garden BirdWatch survey show that early April is the best time to see Siskins in gardens. The Trust is already receiving reports from people that are seeing Siskins in their gardens, and would like to know how widespread this year's invasion is.

The male Siskin is unmistakeable with its bright yellow plumage, streaked with black and sporting a black cap and bib. Females are somewhat duller and lack the black cap and bib. Both sexes have two bright yellow wing-bars edged with black.

Meanwhile there's egg-citing news for the county's peregrine lovers The world's fastest animal, the peregrine falcon, proved that it's a record-setting creature by beating RSPB officers to the start line by laying its eggs just days before the RSPB was ready to announce its upcoming peregrine viewing project in partnership with the Worcester City Council.

The RSPB and the City Council are able to confirm via footage from a live nest camera that the female peregrine laid its first egg on 26 March in a specially built nesting box at the top of St. Andrew's Spire, and it's expected that she will lay up to three more before she starts to incubate her eggs.

Ross Lawford, RSPB peregrine project officer from Worcester says: "This is really fantastic news. The upcoming peregrine-viewing season promises to be exciting in Worcester and visitors can come by the RSPB's marquee from this Wednesday, April 9, and find out firsthand what the peregrines are up to."

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