Yellowhammer. Photo: Alan Burfitt

Yellowhammer

Last updated: 21 February 2011

The yellowhammer is called Melyn yr Eithin in Welsh meaning yellow bird of the gorse.

The Welsh yellowhammer population fell by 30% between 1994 and 2000 and the birds continue to struggle as habitat disappears and farmland no longer provides the seeds that the birds once thrived on - especially on all-grass farms.

It is now a Red List species here in the UK but despite that, they are resident here so you can see them all year long and not just in summer.

Yellowhammers are insect and seed eating birds. Weedy stubble fields following harvests of corn and wheat, which supply an abundance of their winter sustenance, have been replaced by pasture.

In sunshine, they often stand out being bright canary yellow, but the same yellow can be quite a good camouflage against young green foliage.

Yellowhammers are fairly widespread throughout Wales, with the Dyfi Valley, Mawddach valley, Lleyn Peninsular, Pembrokeshire, Gower and Denbighshire all being key areas.

If you wish to attract them to your garden, the RSPB suggests you try mixed or table seed containing a high proportion of cereals such as barley, wheat and oats, mixed with sunflower seed and millet.

But, yellowhammers won't feed from a bird table or hanging feeder, so spread the seed on the ground, somewhere with a hedge, shrub or tree nearby as they don't like feeding in the open.


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