Goldfinch

This goldfinch was at RSPB Fairburn Ings, perfectly posed to show that red face and yellow wing feathers.

The pointed beak makes this bird expert at extracting seeds from thistles, and feeders with niger seeds – which is where we often see them in the back garden. They were once called thistle finches. It took me a long time to recognise goldfinches, because I was expecting something a bit more… gold!

Wikipedia reports that “In Britain during the 19th century many thousands of goldfinches were trapped each year to be sold as cage-birds.” Thank heaven this practice of caging wild birds is no longer acceptable in the UK; some other parts of the world have yet to catch up.

Apparently, many goldfinches are resident in the UK but some migrate further south in winter, as far as Spain – just like many retired Brits.