Bird News – Malcolm Palmer

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Yet another addition to the growing list of ‘invaders’ has been discovered. Slap-bang in the centre of urban Murcia, some twit (or various twits?) has seen fit to allow House Finch to escape. This remarkably successful, omnivorous bird has spread throughout North America, thriving around human habitation, and causing a good deal of damage to corn crops, as well as being a possible vector of a virus infecting domestic fowl. The finch, known in Spanish as Camachuelo mexicano (Mexican bullfinch) is apparently breeding successfully at various points around the city.

Better news comes from the Sierra de Cazorla, where no less than three pairs of Lammergeier are now holding territory, following the successful introduction process. Incidentally, mountaineers have found Lammergeier nesting at almost 5,000 metres altitude near the peak of Annapurna.

Good news comes of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker – found to be nesting now near the centre of Madrid, in the garden of the University of Moncloa – the little bird’s expansion continues. In the opposite direction goes the Lesser Grey Shrike, now represented by just one breeding pair in the whole of Spain, and only five individuals seen last year. In France, the species fares still worse, with the sole breeding pair failing to produce young.

On a more positive note, last year at least two species were added to the Spanish breeding list, when Pallid Harrier, taking advantage of the huge number of voles, bred in Palencia, and Sevilla hosted two pairs of Laughing Dove.