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!
- The name ‘bullfinch’ comes from the bird’s front heavy, bull-headed appearance.
- Bullfinches were once popular cage birds. They can be taught to imitate a special bird flute or whistle.
- The short, stubby beak is specially adapted for feeding on buds.
- 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.
- Due to their bud-eating habits, many thousands used to be legally trapped and killed each year in English orchards.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bullfinches form strong, lasting pair bonds and it’s usual to see birds in pairs throughout the year.
- Females usually show dominance over the males – is the cock bullfinch the original hen-pecked male?
- Nests have a double construction, with the twiggy base supporting a cup of interwoven fine grass and dried rootlets.
- Most pairs will attempt to raise two broods a year; some manage three.
- The bullfinch is one of our shyest garden birds, which may explain its reluctance to visit feeders.
Source of my facts: www.jacobijayne.co.uk