Male Bullfinch

Male Bullfinch

Bullfinch in the snow

Poor old Bullfinch freezing cold in the snow… We’ve had a lot of birds coming up to the back of the house during the cold weather. A striking bit of colour in the frost!

Bullfinch facts

  1. The name ‘bullfinch’ comes from the bird’s front heavy, bull-headed appearance.
  2. Bullfinches were once popular cage birds. They can be taught to imitate a special bird flute or whistle.
  3. The short, stubby beak is specially adapted for feeding on buds.
  4. They are particularly enthusiastic eaters of the buds of certain fruit trees. Conference, Dr Jules and Williams pears are particularly popular, along with Morello cherries.
  5. Due to their bud-eating habits, many thousands used to be legally trapped and killed each year in English orchards.
  6. Research has shown that a commercial fruit tree can lose up to half its buds without the harvest being affected – so the culling may well have been unnecessary.
  7. British birds are highly sedentary, seldom moving more than a few kilometres during their lives. In contrast, northern populations are migratory, occasionally reaching Britain during the winter.
  8. Bullfinches form strong, lasting pair bonds and it’s usual to see birds in pairs throughout the year.
  9. Females usually show dominance over the males – is the cock bullfinch the original hen-pecked male?
  10. Nests have a double construction, with the twiggy base supporting a cup of interwoven fine grass and dried rootlets.
  11. Most pairs will attempt to raise two broods a year; some manage three.
  12. The bullfinch is one of our shyest garden birds, which may explain its reluctance to visit feeders.

Source of my facts:


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