Saturday, 2 March 2013

Greenfinch fizz

Yesterday I heard the summery sound of a greenfinch.  And then another.  I usually hear them before I see them.  There's a fluty trill, almost like a little giggle and then a sort of fizz or wheeze.  No other bird does the fizz so it's a way you can be sure it's a greenfinch.

The male lives up to his name with olive green breast and back.  He also has a pink beak if you are close enough to see, with bright yellow edges to some of the wing feathers and yellow patches on the sides of the tail, which show when the bird flies off.
The female is more discrete.  She is mostly greyish brown but still has tinges of yellow on wings and tail.

Juvenile birds are similar to the female but more speckly. 

Here's dad feeding a fledgling, courtesy of Mike Atkinson 
Listen to the full greenfinch song on Brett Westwood's birdsong recordings under 'helpful links' on the right.  The song consists of several different phrases varying in pitch and speed from a slow 'ping ping ping' through canary-like trills to the 'lazy wheeze' as BW calls it.

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