Do hawfinches ever visit gardens?

Ecologist Christian Dunn discusses the likelihood of spotting this smart woodland finch in your back garden.


The hawfinch has a super-strong bill © Erec Thielscher / ullstein bild / Getty


This smart finch is a localised breeder, most commonly associated with large tracts of mature broadleaved woodland.

While the New Forest, the Forest of Dean and parts of the Lake District support important breeding populations, the species also occurs more widely across England and Wales in

The use of gardens tends to
 reflect this distribution pattern, with 
a handful receiving regular visits from 
birds breeding locally.

The hawfinch
is secretive in nature, so is easily 
overlooked – many breeding pairs 
likely go unnoticed.

 have declined sharply over
recent years but for
 reasons yet unknown,
which suggests that
garden visits may
become even more
 uncommon than they 
currently are.


Click here to read more of our Wildlife Q&As.

Do you have a wildlife question you’d like answered? Email your question to or post it to Q&A, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Immediate Media Company, 2nd Floor, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3BN

We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here