The finch which has struck gold

The seven colour linnet
The seven colour linnet

Let’s hear it for the goldfinch, writes George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services.

This multi-coloured finch used to revel under the name of seven-coloured linnet among aviary keepers of old.

Indeed, such are their good looks, if the goldfinch was a rare bird, twitchers would travel from far lands to see one.

How fortunate then that the goldfinch is not only common, it is doing very well thank you. This increase has a lot to do with the way bird feeding has become a national obsession.

However, I find it strange that the equally colourful cousin of the goldie, the bullfinch, continues to decrease.

If only bullfinches could take to garden bird feeders the way goldies have, I’m sure we would see a similar increase.

Then there is the greenfinch, which has decreased markedly, with many pointing to bird feeding as the ironic cause.

In the case of the greenfinch, a vile disease has spread among them.

It is thought that this disease may be spread when birds congregate at feeders.

There is some evidence that poor feeder maintenance may exacerbate the problem. Perhaps bullfinches are right to steer clear of our offerings?

However, despite their mixed fortunes, the finch clan remains a common, colourful and charismatic family of garden birds.

Just be sure not to overdo your feeding, and make sure the ground below is kept clean. That way we should all be able to enjoy the spectacle and antics of finches into the future.