greenfinch defined in 1930 yeargreenfinch - Greenfinch;
greenfinch - Yellowish green variegated with yellow and ash-grey. Length, sis inches. It has been a subject of mild wonder to me that the greenfinch is not more a favourite than I find him; for he is almost more with us than any other finch, and, in most cases, to know a bird well is to like it. Few of our eighteen finches can be seen and heard close to our houses. The brambling, siskin, redpoll, crossbill, and twite are scattered about the country in the cold and songless season; in summer we see little or nothing of them. The linnet is fairly abundant, but must be looked for on waste lands and commons; while the goldfinch, bullfinch, hawfinch, and tree-sparrow are either so shy or so rare that, to most persons, they might be non-existent. Three of our five buntings are common enough; but these, too, are birds of the open, that come little about houses, and are without the qualities that go to make a favourite. Of finches of the homestead that possess beauty and melody there are only two - the chaffinch and the greenfinch; and it is the fact that most people have a great esteem for the first, and pay but vary slight attention to the second. The greenfinch is not formed on the graceful lines of the goldfinch and some other members of the family; he is made more after the pattern of the hawfinch, and is somewhat heavy in appearance. Regarding his colouring only, he is a prettier bird than his neighbour, the chaffinch, his plumage showing two colours that contrast beautifully - olive-green and brilliant yellow. It is not often that we can see him in the proper light and position. He is strangely fond of concealing himself in the green foliage, which makes him in his green dress invisible. Seen in the shade or against a bright light, his colour appears dull and indeterminate; but against a background of green leaves, with the sunlight on him, he is certainly beautiful.
The greenfinches are very sociable in disposition, and all the summer long, even when they are engaged in breeding, they may be seen in parties of three, or four, or half a dozen; two or three nests are often found on the same branch, or in close proximity. The passions of jealousy and anger, so common among birds in the pairing season, seem not to exist in this species. As a songster he cannot compare with the linnet, the chaffinch, and the goldfinch, but he probably produces more pleasant sound than any other finch, unless we include the chirruping of the sparrow. He is attached to gardens and shrubberies, to groves and hedges, and hedgerow trees, especially elms, and among the clustering leaves in which he loves to hide he is constantly uttering his various notes, the commonest of which is a low and long-drawn trill. Occasionally he gives out another long, single note, with a very different sound, a kind of soft- toned, inflected scream, used sometimes as a call-note and sometimes to express alarm; and this he will often repeat again and again at short intervals. When uttering his trill, which is his favourite expression, among the leaves, bird answering bird with trills that vary in tone, he gives out from time to time another sound, a series of warbled notes, soft and melodious in character. Occasionally, in the pairing season, the male bird flies up out of the cloud of foliage and emits these warbling notes as he circles round, and descends into the midst of the leaves again. The charm of this perpetual summer music of the greenfinches is its airy, subdued character, as of wind-touched leaves that flutter musically.
The nest is placed among the close branches of a bush or low tree, and is somewhat loosely put together, straw, roots, and moss, mixed with wool, being used, with a lining of fibres, horsehair, and feathers. The eggs are four to six in number, and are white, faintly spotted and speckled with purplish red at the large end. The young are fed on seeds of various weeds and small caterpillars; and two, and sometimes three, broods are reared in the season. At the end of summer the greenfinches repair to the fields, and are seen in flocks of two or three score to a hundred or more individuals, and are also found associating with sparrows, chaffinches, and other species.
The greenfinch is a common bird throughout the British Islands.
near greenfinch in Knolik
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