March bird of the month – Chaffinch
Scientific name: Fringilla coelebs
June’s bird of the month is another colourful yet very common garden visitor that could be considered fairly tame in that they’re happy to feed close to humans and in some cases feed from the hand.
Their name “coelebs” translates from Latin to mean “unmarried” as Swedish taxonomist Linnaeus noticed the Chaffinches tendency to flock in all male groups.
Chaffinches will typically live to 3 years.
- Feather colour – Male Chaffinches can be recognised by their pinky-red plumage on their chest and face, grey feathers on their crowns and black and white wing marking. The colour will grow more vivid just ahead of the breeding season. This is due to the duller tips of the feathers wearing away to reveal the brighter shade beneath.
The females are considerably less colourful, having soft brown plumage on their chests, darker brown from their crowns continuing down their backs and the same black and white wing markings.
- Leg colour – they have a brown to pink leg colouring.
- Beak – their beaks are black-blue, short and thick.
Chaffinches measure 14.5cm in length, with a wingspan of 24.5-28.5cm and weigh about 18-29g
Chaffinches were highly sought after by Victorians as a caged singing bird, although the cage-bird trade has been outlawed since 1896.
A singing cock will sing his song five or six times and minute and up t a staggering 3,000 times a day. The Chaffinches calls are loud, varied and have been known to have regional accents depending on where they’re living.
From once a Chaffinch is a year old it will usually have only 1 brood of about 4 or 5 young, each year. Typically the Chaffinch will lay their eggs from late April to early May.
Chaffinches can be found around the UK in woodlands, hedgerows, fields, parks and gardens all year round although their original habitat was deciduous woodlands.
The Chaffinches will build their nests from Feb, constructed with spiders’ webs, moss and grass, then lined with feathers.
The Chaffinch has a “green” conservation status in the UK due to the approximately 6 million breeding pairs.
During autumn you may see large flocks of Chaffinches moving through the countryside, these are usually Chaffinches from Scandinavia where as the smaller flocks will more likely be local resident birds.
What they eat:
A typical diet for a chaffinch will include various invertebrates and seeds. You can top your bird tables up with a seed mix like Peckish Complete Seed & Nut Mix or dried mealworms, both available in our bird care departments. They will search gardens for these supplementary feeds when crops are poor.
You’ll notice the birds won’t feed openly on the top of the bird tables but will opt to feed from the scattered seeds and insects underneath. This is also the same when they’re looking for foo in hedgerows.
The numbers are very good for Chaffinches but they can be susceptible to two types of diseases, Fringilla papillomavirus and trichomonosis.
Fringilla papillomavirus can be identified by the growths that occur on feet and legs of the birds, but doesn’t really cause the birds too much harm.
Trichomonosis, as mentioned in the Greenfinch blog is fatal. It’s causes the bird to have issues swallowing and therefore leading to them starving. Simply cleaning bird feeders, bird baths and bird tables regularly will prevent the birds catching the disease.
Order bird care products online!
Keep the birds well fed by making the most of our click and collect order service. It’s simple – order online, select your slot date and collect!
Click here to see bird care items and more.
Looking for further advice?
Then why not pop into your local Scotsdales store today and speak with a member of our knowledgeable team. We will be happy to assist in any way we can with advice and guidance regarding the best options for birds in your garden.