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At this time of year, with the Conference pear buds swelling, older fruit growers may be remembering the devastation that Bullfinches used to wreak. They would systematically and at high speed, strip a tree of fruit buds. Many growers would (legally!) trap and shoot the birds to try to reduce the damage. Now, to see a Bullfinch is a remarkable event. Their decline has not been caused by our persecution, but by some other as yet uncertain, change to the environment. Alastair