A Bellowing of Bullfinches

As I sat eating my breakfast this morning dozily staring out into the garden I couldn’t believe my eyes. First one bullfinch landed on the bird feeder. A male, it’s bright pink breast shining in the dull morning light. Then his “Mrs” turned up. Then another male…. then two more females! That’s FIVE bullfinches altogether. A record for our garden.

Male Bullfinch

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

So I looked up their collective noun and believe it or not one that’s quoted is a “bellowing”. Strange, they have such a pathetic call, more of a single-pitch churp than a bellow. Other collective nouns for them are a “lowing” and “volery”. I think lowing is probably nearest – bit like a small feathered herd of cows.

Anyway, before I could reach for the camera (and finish my tea and toast) they were gone. Hopefully they will come bellow, low and volery some other time!


14 thoughts on “A Bellowing of Bullfinches

  1. Wow Jane, I know it’s disappointing when you get a sighting like this without your camera to hand but on the other side it perhaps makes the moment more special! I would be thrilled to see one in my garden. Of course… I’m now looking forward to seeing pics from the next time 😉

    BTW thanks for adding a plant list to the challenge. I still cannot believe the response it had – I guess it was the timing. What a job I had keeping up with it all – there was quite a buzz going around that day! Lists and comments are still coming in. Fantastic stuff 😀

  2. Hi Shirl. The trouble is my house has old 1920’s glass in the windows, so if you try to photograph through it (even if they are really clean… which they hardly ever are) you get distortion. So the only place I can get a clean view of them is upstairs in my bedroom with the window open. I might set up the camera in the bedroom ready to film them. They came again this morning. Only four today… missing the other male… but still great to see.

    Well done on your plant list challenge. I think it gave everyone something to think/talk about. Certainly made me think! Thanks for all your hard work.


  3. Wow – lovely birds to have visiting Jane – think I’m bellowing that I’ve never had them in the garden and not seen them in my “patch” either. Good luck with catching them on film.

  4. Hi Tricia. I can hear you from here! Four today again. Wonder where the other one has got to… there seems to be a bit of in fighting as well, so they are obviously sorting out their territories. Still trying to film them… Jane

  5. Hi Sara. Bellowing is great isn’t it. Yes, a bellowing group of cows I could understand, but bullfinches? Now, every time I see them, I bellow at them. I think they think I am a little strange 🙂

  6. I know Neil… we had a very pinky looking male chaffinch in the tree the other day. Looked just like a bullfinch from a distance until it started singing!

  7. I was desperately trying to think of the name for lots of goldfinches yesterday and still can’t remember! They have been feeding like mad things on the remains of my Verbena bonariensis (that lovely tall late flowering purple garden plant). I have now put a Niger feeder quite close by so hope they’ll move on to that. Havn’t seen my bullfinches for a while though the Green Woodpecker was just outside the backdoor today on the small bit of grass exposed by the thawing snow. A pair of Song Thrushes feeding near the house each day too.

  8. Hi Hilly. I think its a “charm” of goldfinches, which is lovely I think. I wish I could get them into my garden… many this year! We have one thrush in the garden at the moment (he’s a newcomer). He was sitting on the back door step today… I hope he stays around. We usually have a pair nesting in the garden in the Spring, using an old brick as an anvil for snails.

  9. Hope I don’t sound too cocky but I would be unhappy to see less than five Bullfinches at a “sighting”. But perhaps I am lucky to be on a quiet stretch of Waterloo Road with woodland all around. The year after I moved here(2001) I saw a pair on the kitchen windowsill but it took until 2006 to get them back in quantity. I think we now have an extended family and have seen as many as seven at a time in my apple tree. I have found them to be quite fussy feeders and would recommend using sunflower hearts to tempt them. This advice also seems to apply to Coal Tits who seem to prefer sunflower seeds to anything else. Can anyone advise me how to attract Goldfinches though?

    • It’s good to know that the bullfinches are doing well in Waterloo Road. I have the same problem with goldies. I think it’s the proximity to the woods, as they tend to like the open fields. I’ve seen whole flocks of them on the fields bordering Haywards Lane but only get the odd one or two in my garden. They do like the niger seed but haven’t been able to encourage them to stick around. This year I’m growing teasels, so you never know this autumn I may see a few more! Thanks so much for visiting the blog Bobby. Jane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s