THEY have brightened up Scotland’s suburban gardens and sparked a mini-tourist boom.

Multi-coloured Eurasian Nuthatches have long been a favourite of birdwatchers and their gradual migration north has sent the nation’s twitchers into a frenzy.

But their arrival in southern Scotland over the last decade is far from good news because it is a sign of just how quickly our planet is heating.

Scientists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the international conservation charity, have named nuthatches as one of 55 species displaced by climate change into the UK.

And they have done so thanks to twitchers on Twitter.

The researchers conducted searches both on Twitter and Google, attributing 10 out of the 55 species identified to people posting images online of the animals in unusual places.

The study led by Dr Nathalie Pettorelli of ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, explains that, due to regular sightings from environmentalists, UK wildlife is one of the most intensively monitored in the world, but there is very little centralised tracking of species arriving for the first time in the country or moving to places outside their known UK range, due to climate change.

The analysis also considered UK Government environment reports as well as 111 scientific papers, leading to a total of 55 species (out of 39,029 species in the UK) being identified.

The research focused solely on species which had established sustainable populations through natural, rather than human-assisted movement.

Little evidence for any one group of animals showing resilience to the pressures of climate change were seen, with invertebrates, mammals and birds all seemingly impacted by rising temperatures. Of the 55 species identified, 64% were invertebrates, and only one formally classified as an invasive species – the leathery sea squirt.

This last beastie – said to be one of the ugliest animals in the world – is now said to be well established on the bottom of the Clyde.

The black bee fly – which goes by the unappealing Latin name of Anthrax Anthrax – arrived in the UK for the first time in 2016. And there has been a wave of concern at the arrival in southern England of the tube web spider, which looks menacing.

It is known to bite humans with its bright green jaws – but only if provoked by people sticking their fingers in its characteristic tube webs. It is not, however, dangerous.

Dr Pettorelli, lead author and senior research fellow at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, said: “We are currently massively unprepared for the climate-driven movement of species that is happening right now in the UK. As it stands, society is not ready for the redistribution of species, as current policies and agreements are not designed for these novel species and ecological communities – particularly if those species have no perceived value

to society.

“Our results suggest that many species are on the move in the UK, and that we can expect a lot of changes in the type of nature we will have around us in the coming years. “But the lack of an integrated national platform dedicated to tracking and communicating about species displaced by climate change is currently a hindrance to mitigating those potential ecological, economic and societal associated impacts.”

Nuthatches are not the only bird on the move. Tropical-looking European bee-eater – identified by keen birdwatchers and which have been nesting in Kent and Nottinghamshire – are quite a stretch from their natural breeding grounds in Africa, central and southern Europe and East Asia.

The study found that 24% of new species arriving or displaced were cited as having negative impacts on ecological communities and human society. Damage to crops, bio-fouling, human disease spread and increased pressure on planning permissions were all regarded as negative impacts.

The ZSL scientists want to hear more from animal lovers on their “Species on the Move” Twitter account @SOTM_UK with the hashtag #SOTM_UK .