Pretty in pink

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Bullfinch, RSPB Fairburn Ings

In this blog we bring you one of the prettiest British birds on show:  a year round resident we’ve had the pleasure of seeing many times.  I was saying to Alison that I hadn’t seen one for ages; then, like magic, 15th November, I spotted one grabbing berries from a bush down by the Chesterfield Canal.

A thick set finch, the male carries a marvellous black shiny cap, grey back and pinky red underparts.  It has a striking white rump and a black tail, and the wings are black with a white wing bar.

The female (below) is less red and pink: almost a soft fawn colour with peachy underparts.

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Bullfinch female, King’s Park

It lives in hedgerows and woodland, parks, gardens, and dense undergrowth.  The nest is a frail twiggy construction, usually lined with horse hair.  The eggs are a pale blue with purply black blotches, and the call is a whistling “peeeuu, peeeuu!”

Although widespread, the bullfinch is rarely numerous, and will feed on berries, seeds, insects, nuts and grain.

As you can see from the pictures, we have seen them in different locations, e.g., King’s Park, hedgerows by the canal and Fairburn Ings RSPB centre.

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Bullfinch, King’s Park

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a stunning little finch and it’s the time of year to be seen while the berries are still on show.

This bird used to be very unpopular with gardeners and fruit growers as it would eat the buds, shoots and fruits.  In winter they’ve been known visit town gardens, although I’ve never seen one on my 4 bird tables – maybe one day it will happen?

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Bullfinch, Idle Valley

We certainly put some hours into getting these pictures and we love sharing our interest with you.  We hope it encourages you to get out into the fresh air and see the nature right on your doorstep.

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Bullfinch, Idle Valley

Last Tuesday in a two-hour period on one of my birding routes, I saw goldfinches, chaffinches, wrens, blackbirds, thrushes, dunnock, pheasant, blue tit, great tit, bullfinch, goldcrest, kingfisher, mistle thrush, woodpecker, jay, pigeons, jackdaw, crows, buzzard – it’s incredible.  Ruined my fishing though – birding has taken over, that’s how exciting and enjoyable it is!

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Bullfinch, Idle Valley







Another superb British bird: one of the many types of finch in and around our area.  More different species of finch are to come in our future blogs.  Thank you for reading and for the comments we receive.


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