Flocks of Goldfinches arrived in the park this weekend.
And a flock or group of them is called A CHARM !
The autumn population is increased by the passage of European birds down eastern Britain. The sudden cold spell in the North may have brought them down here. Some of our breeding birds migrate to France and Spain, but birds that migrate one year will not necessarily migrate in others.
Goldfinches feed on various tree seeds, such as alder and birch, and on thistle, teasel and dandelion seeds, which it can obtain owing to its thin bill and light weight.
Niger seed and teasels may attract them into your garden, but they will also feed on sunflower hearts.
You may see them in the park in rough ground with thistles and other seeding plants, and they like orchards, gardens, heathland and common.
They have recovered from a serious decline in the 1970s and 80s caused by the increased use of herbicides.
European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
Golden brown, red, black and white head and yellow wing bar.
Photo Attribution: © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Flocks of Greenfinches (Carduelinae Chloris chloris) have also suddenly appeared.
Their populations declined during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but increased dramatically during the 1990s. A recent decline in numbers has been linked to an outbreak of trichomonosis, a parasite-induced disease which prevents the birds from feeding properly.
Photo courtesy of Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons