I’ve asked a lot of people recently whether they have bullfinches in their gardens. “You have got to be kidding” is the normal reply, and “I can’t remember the last time I saw one”. So I looked up bullfinches on the RSPB site and realised they are on the “red” species list and of “high conservation priority”. Oh god…. and I’ve got three in the garden right now!
Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia
This is the second time this has happened. The first was with spotted flycatchers that nest in a box on the side of our house every spring. They are another “red” status bird. I didn’t realise they were so rare either. I always knew there was something special about my garden.
I can always hear the bullfinches when I’m gardening, their plaintive call doesn’t really do them justice, but it always makes me smile. However, they do manage to eat copious amounts of sunflower hearts, and I must admit to encouraging their addiction with a year-round supply.
I decided the best thing I could do was put together a film showing the male and the female, and the differences in their markings and colouring. So I sat in front of my computer today watching my CCTV camera (which was directed at the squirrel-proof feeder in the front garden) and kept pressing the record button every time one came to feed.
I’ve broken the film up into roughly five second clips. First of the male, then the female, then the male (you get the idea). Hopefully this should help to show the differences between them. The poor old female is very dull compared to her brash partner. He sits there with his peachy breast stuck out, as if he is some kind of small parrot on a tropical island. He certainly stands out in my dull brown garden at the moment. I’m always so worried that the sparrowhawk is going to make a beeline for him!
I hope you enjoy the film, and let me know if this has helped you to recognise this gorgeous little bird.