Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I have not written a post about all the birds in our garden for quite some time. They are still fascinating to watch and the number of species is impressive, which is partly explained by the fact that we live in a very wooded area and that our garden backs on to a small copse.

I don't spend a lot of time idly watching garden life, but even when you cast a fleeting glance through a window you might see something interesting. The other day I suddenly noticed an unusual bird under the feeders where many other birds also feed since birds on the feeders drop seeds all the time, some by mistake, but also because they have their favourite seeds and simply discharge unwanted ones.

This bird looked like a big finch with what looked to be a very powerful bill. He also did not flinch an eyelid when other birds came and went around him; he was obviously high up the pecking order by nature. He just flicked his head, all that was necessary to make smaller birds fly off. I had never seen this bird before, I was sure, and I stood there observing, trying to memorise colours and shape. Then I rushed upstairs for my European bird book.

I looked through all 550 pages plus just to make sure I did not miss it, and I came to the conclusion that, despite the fact that the colours did not quite match neither the book's nor the RSPB Bird Guide's colours, it must be a Hawfinch.

According to the information I found I had been rather lucky to catch a glimpse of this rare visitor.



Veronica said...

He does look like he would wield authority

swenglishexpat said...

Veronica - That bill can apparently "crack open kernels from stone fruits; e.g.cherries..." . Ouch!

Kelsey said...

Seems like a pretty bird!