Goldfinch card by Julian Williams
Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Greeting card with coloured envelope featuring common visitors to the bird table
The cards and mugs in this series are ideal gifts and cards for bird lovers
TEXT written on the back of the card
The Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
Goldfinches are adapted to feed on thorny plants like thistles and teasel. Folk stories developed that the goldfinch, sometimes known as Saviour birds, acquired its red face after it got splashed with blood whilst pulling thorns from Christ’s brow. In medieval pictures goldfinches were often depicted with the Madonna and Child and John the Baptist as a forewarning that Christ would save humanity through his crucifixion.
In the Canterbury Tales, Chaucer mentions the cook “gaily dressed he was as is a goldfinch in the woods” In the 18th century used “goldfinch” as a slang word for a wealthy person in fancy clothing.
Goldfinches, renowned for their beauty and pretty song, were trapped each year to be sold as cage-birds. They were so popular that by the 19th century the trapping had caused the population to crash. The numbers recovered following the success of one of the earliest conservation campaigns by the then newly formed Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Other common names include thistle tweaker, thistle finch, goldie, gold linnet, redcap and King Harry. The collective name for goldfinches is a charm, is derived from the old English c’irm, describing the birds’ twittering song.