The Hawfinch Recovery project is an exciting initiative to research and help this charismatic species in the Morecambe Bay area.
Hawfinches are large finches with a bill powerful enough to crack cherry stones. The National Trust's Sizergh Castle is one of the best places to see Hawfinches up close, where these handsome birds prefer the fallen seed from hornbeam trees.
Hawfinch is a priority species but sadly a recent national survey revealed a huge population decline over the last 20 years. Little is known about Hawfinches in South Cumbria/North Lancashire, so in order to learn more a research programme was established in 2013. In 2018 the project team will be catching and colour ringing Hawfinches which will enable data collection on the size and stability of the local population and the movements of individual birds to be recorded. Ultimately this information will inform woodland management to create better conditions to help the birds to thrive in the future.
To see Hawfinches, visit Sizergh Castle - the birds are most regularly encountered in the visitor car park area between February and April, with early March mornings often the most rewarding.