Hawfinch breeding in Norfolk 2017

On 26th April 2017 I had the good fortune to find a Hawfinch nest discreetly tucked in behind some Ivy about 14 metres high in an Oak tree. I made daily visits over the next 24 days to monitor the nest until I watched the chicks fledge at 1830 on 19th May. The weather had been pretty awful during the last few days with heavy overnight rain so it was with some relief that the breeding was successful. This was the first Hawfinch nest I had found since 2012 and the the first fledglings seen since 2008. As the nest was so high up and very well hidden it was not great for photography but did allow nice view through the telescope. The female done all of the incubating with the male bringing her food on the nest, when the chicks were being fed the male done the bulk of the work with the female continuing to brood only occasionally leaving the nest to feed herself. On the day of the fledging the boldest chick was at the front of the nest and begging for food as the male appeared, after being fed the female left then the male quickly returned and removed the faecal sac and left. The chick cautiously clambered a short distance away from the nest where it remained for a few moments before venturing a little further, the parents soon returned and the female gave it a peck on the tail as if to encourage it to leave and she returned to sit on the nest, the male sat close beside the chick and encouraged it to follow him to an outer branch where if fluttered away.

On 3rd May 2017 I found a second Hawfinch nest, a much more open nest at the very outer top branches. I again made visits daily until 3 chicks finally fledged on 23rd May. No attempt was made to go up to the nest or prune the branches obscuring the nest so the photos show exactly how it was.

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