A flock of these vibrant birds is called a ‘charm’, and it’s not hard to see why. Goldfinches are excitable, chattering creatures which often fly together noisily in a swooping, bounding motion. They are, undeniably, a very beautiful bird to look at and one of the most colourful amongst all our garden visitors.
You can often hear their squabbling call before you see them. A goldfinch has a strong beak and a bright red face mask, as well as a pale brown body with vibrant yellow and black wing flashes. It’s because of their beauty and fast-paced song that they were very attractive to Victorians who often kept them as pets in small cages. This fascination ended up leading to a wild goldfinch shortage. Luckily, goldfinches are now back in high numbers, with flocks of dozens at a time often seen at feeding stations.
In days long gone, they were called the thistle finch, relating to their favourite food. Goldfinches’ beaks are specifically designed to work small seeds out of teasels and thistle heads. However, this is reserved for male goldfinches only which have longer, more slender beaks than the female.