B36 Common Chaffinch by Julian Williams
Greeting card with coloured envelope
TEXT written on the back of the card
The Common Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Male chaffinches are amongst the most colourful birds to visit to our bird tables. The plumage of the hens is more subtle, being made up of warm hues of brown and green which make her easy to confuse for a sparrow. They have a pretty song which in the past made chaffinches a favourite songbird to keep as pets
Finches specialise in eating seeds but during the breeding season, before the plants have had time to seed, they feed their young on a diet of insects.
The bird acquired its common name “chaffinch” because large flocks of the birds were a common sight amongst the stubble in harvested corn fields. Afterwards they would visit the farm yards to feed at the heaps of discarded chaff left after threshing the corn.
The chaffinch’s Latin name ‘coelebs’ means ‘bachelor’ and was given because in northern Europe only the males stayed over the winter to maintain their territories, whilst their wives moved south. Other folk names include shell apple from old English sheld-appel (lit. multi-coloured finch) and spink, flackie and boldie.