Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Day 25 - More Fantastic Finches

Day 25

Well today's subject is far more common than I thought when I started. I don't see very many when I go to reserves and only the odd one in my garden. I also discovered I haven't many photos of them!

Chaffinch (Fringella coelebs)
It was a surprise then when my research showed me they are the second commonest bird in UK (sparrow were the most common - watch out for these guys soon - but is now the wren) and the most common finch. 

They are easily recognisable from their lovely colouring - males have pinker breast and cheeks than the female but both have the flashes of white on their wings.

You can find them in gardens, parks and woods (except the ones I go it seems)

They like to feed on insects, seeds (especially sunflower seeds and hearts) and caterpillars in the breeding season

Landing for a feed
A garden favourite the Chaffinch usually prefers to forage under the bird table rather than on it and has become accustomed to people being around and so if you are eating outside they will often sit in wait for dropped crumbs

There are about 6,200,000 breeding pairs in the UK so it has green status and there are even more between September  and March when 10-20 million visiting chaffinches from Western Europe come to the UK in search of food and a warmer climate. 

A taxonomist, Linnaeus, realised these visitors were mostly female. The males remained at home and flocked together, which led him to name them Coelebs meaning bachelor in Latin!

Chaffinches build a neat little cup shaped nest in the fork of a tree or bush lined with moss feathers spiders webs and lichen. 

They usually have one brood per year averaging on 4 chicks. 

Chaffinches are home loving birds and don't tend to stray far from where they were hatched and raised.

They are 14-18 cm long

Help to disperse seeds and berries for new plant growth.

The Victorians had a passion for Chaffinches and loved their song,  and a bird with a good song voice was worth a lot of money, so they used to trap them and keep them in cages and trade them on the strength of their songs. This happily became illegal though in 1896!

Did you know they have regional accents and can sound slightly different depending on where in the country they live!

So that's a bunch of facts on these lovely birds but if you want to know more try these links:

Hope you enjoyed this.


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