30th January 2015

Chaffinches are our second most common breeding bird and are found all over the British Isles. They even become quite tame where food is served outside. In winter our native population is swelled by migrants from Northern Europe and Scandinavia, though most of the influx are females. Chaffinches, which can live to the ripe old age of 14, become duller-coloured in winter though, as can be seen in these photo’s from a

Male Chaffinch's heads become much brighter blue in the breeding season.

Male Chaffinch’s heads become much brighter blue than this in the breeding season.

All the colours are paler in winter

All the colours are paler in winter

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couple of days ago, even in winter the males are still very colourful birds. Their caps are greyer, only becoming pure blue as their feathers moult for the breeding season. In the 1800’s males were kept in cages and used in a gambling singing competition, a pastime thankfully no longer pursued! Conditions: A dry, sunny, cold day. Temperature: Max 3, Min 0c.

Winter or summer, male or female, the wing pattern, with its white flashes, are always distinctive in Chaffinches.

Winter or summer, male or female, the wing pattern, with its white flashes, is always distinctive in Chaffinches.

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