21st November 2016

The UK’s Chaffinch populations are boosted over winter by Scandinavian migrants. Winter Chaffinches exhibit ‘differential migration’. Females are more likely to travel further west and south west, hence we have more Chaffinches in the garden than in summer, and most are female. Males are dominant in winter, and females dominant during the breeding season, when the male accompanies them everywhere. 

Female Chaffinch- one of several in the garden now

Female Chaffinch- one of several in the garden now

Female Chaffinch

Female Chaffinch

Male Chaffinch, showing  winter grey cap

Male Chaffinch, showing winter grey cap

It is thought that females are pushed further afield in competition for scarce food in winter. In the South and East, the majority is likely to be male, hence their nickname ‘bachelor bird’ (males’ caps are grey in winter- the blue only emerges as the grey tips wear off in spring). Conditions: Heavy, continuous rain, but lacking the strong winds experienced in the South of England. Temperature: Max 6- Min 6c.

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