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Trichomonosis, a disease that spreads through the birds’ contact with contaminated surfaces (like bird feeders – please clean them weekly!), has decimated the Greenfinch population in Britain, leading to a huge decline in numbers and to the bird being red-listed.

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As I’ve only been in my current location for just over seven years, I don’t know how badly the local birds were hit, though birding friends say it got to the stage where they rarely saw a Greenfinch. Fortunately, that dire situation does seem to be improving hereabouts, and I can now be fairly confident that I’ll see or hear a Greenfinch during my daily walks.

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At this time of year, I usually hear them before I see them, particularly males like the two pictured here, sitting in prominent spots atop a bush or in a tree, making their odd wheezing sound. They make other sounds too, of course, but it’s that odd buzzy wheeze that catches my attention – and, hopefully, also the attention of potential mates. If you haven’t heard the sound, I made a short video of one of these chaps giving it their all.