Chaffinches are one of the most widespread and abundant birds in Britain and Ireland. It featured high in the Big Garden Birdwatch, but interestingly it is still one of the most unknown. Chaffinches seek out woodland areas and often stick to more rural gardens.
We have a population of 8 in our urban garden in Glasgow. It’s possible they will come to urban spaces.
Chaffinches can often be heard but may not be seen. They stick to darker hedgerows, mossy trees and a bit like the Dunnock can go unnoticed (especially the females). I love their song. It is tuneful, sprightly and high-pitched it’s definitely a sound to seek out.
What do they look like?
Chaffinches are Diamorphic, their colours are different between the sexes. Male birds have bright red underbellies and blueish heads. Whereas the female goes a little more unnoticed with a brown colour, often mistaken for a Sparrow. Its patterned feathers help it to blend in when feeding on the ground. They become more obvious when it flies, revealing a flash of white on the wings and white outer tail feathers.
What do they eat?
Chaffinches are insect-eating birds. In the Spring & Summer insects are their diet, along with supplementary seeds and berries. Chaffinches are ground-feeding birds, preferring to graze under trees or on quiet lawns. They will venture to a bird feeder if that is the only option and we have found feeders with trays work well for supporting them.
However, their favourite is definitely a table or ground feeder. With a well stocked table, you might find you have an influx of Chaffinches in the colder months.
All the food above are no-grow so you can easily ground feed.
They breed from April to July and nest mainly in the forks of bushes or trees. Laying 3-5 pale blue eggs, which incubate for 11-13 days. The young then fledge after 12-15 days.
You can help Chaffinches by keeping large, thick bushes in your garden and making sure there are plenty of ground cover for them to eat under.