An Old Friend Returns

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

This male Chaffinch was a regular visitor to my feeder during the summer, but I hadn’t seen him for the past few weeks, until today. The last time I saw him I noticed he had a problem with one of his feet, which looked like it was covered in a growth of some kind.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

It didn’t appear to bother him then, and it doesn’t appear to bother him now, despite how nasty it looks. Looking this up on the net I believe he is suffering from chaffinch viral papilloma, a virus specific to chaffinches only. It may have got infected through a  small cut in the foot. Unfortunately there is no cure, but infected birds rarely die from it. I notice he does have trouble balancing sometimes, and it must be quite an irritation, but he seem well enough, and he is still quite friendly and allows me to get pretty close to him.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Photographs of  male Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.


Fringilla coelebs

This bright and colourful bird is a regular visitor to our bird feeder. Only today I watched it sip water from the bird bath, and just sit there for a good while perched on the edge of it, looking around before taking its fill of sunflower seeds from the feeder. These images are of the male of the species, which is much brighter with his bright red underbelly, the female being a plainer olive-green.

It eats a variety of invertebrates in the summer, mainly caterpillars, but otherwise takes seeds and berries, and visits bird tables for mixed seeds particularly, sunflower seeds.

The nest is a camouflaged cup of grass, moss, cobweb, and lichen against the trunk of a tree or bush. The female lays 4 or 5 eggs in 1 brood from April to May. Chaffinches can live for up to 5 years.

It is seen all year round, and is found in woods and parks, and is a very common visitor to the garden where it can become quite tame and used to people, so much so it may even feed out of your hand. A common and widespread bird throughout the United Kingdom.

Photographs taken April 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.