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British Bird of the Month: Goldfinch

Characteristics

This small finch is strikingly colourful with a bright red face, golden brown body and bright yellow wing bars. It is noticeably more slender and dainty than its chaffinch and greenfinch relatives. They have a delightful liquid twittering song and call which is what usually first attracts you to their presence.

They can be found where there are scattered bushes and trees, rough ground with thistles and other seeding plants. They are year round residents, but are absent from the extreme north-west. They are even now common in Australasia after being introduced by settlers.

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British Bird of the Month: Great Tit

Characteristics

The Great Tit is the largest European tit – about the size of a House Sparrow. It is found throughout the UK and is the most scientifically investigated British bird.

Males can be separated from females as they have a much broader black stripe down their belly.

The Great Tits’ song is varied, and this can give the impression that there are more of them in a territory than there actually are. It’s perhaps best known for its piercing “teecher-teecher” song which is usually heard in the spring and summer.

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British Bird of the Month: Great Spotted Woodpecker

Characteristics

The Great Spotted Woodpecker is about the size of a Starling, making it much bigger than its close rarer relative the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which is more sparrow-sized. Found throughout the UK except for northern Scotland, and now slowly re-colonising Ireland.

The only difference between the sexes is a red patch on the nape of the male. Their stiff tail feathers are used as a prop when it is clinging to a tree, and with two forward and two reverse facing toes they have good grip. They have a very undulating flight.

Male Great Spotted Woodpeckers will ‘drum’ its bill on a branch for a few seconds of  8-12 beats and fading away at the end.

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