Bird of the Month May - Chaffinch
This pretty songbird 15cm (6in) in length is more a visitor of gardens located near woods and in the country. It’s a brave bird as well as attractive, and can quite often be found protecting bird feeders with greenfinches. Has quite a character!
Males have pink fronts and heads with a cap of slate blue, the colours all being brighter in spring and summer. The cap has a slight crest. It has a strong, sturdy beak typical of finches. Its wings are brown with a striking white bar towards the top.
The chaffinch has two calls – an assertive high tweet and also an elongated sweet rolling song that fades. Arguably one of the sweetest songs of the garden birds.
3 quirky facts
This bird had a dialect name of ‘the bachelor bird’ due to its often-seen all-male colonies in winter.
Chaffinches underwent the same persecution as goldfinches in that they made popular caged-birds in Victorian times. Not only was the bird considered highly attractive, its lovely song made it a valuable commodity too. Fortunately this trade was outlawed in 1896.
Chaffinches raise just one brood of chicks per year unlike many other finches and small garden birds.