What's in a Name?

This is one of the works of the Scottish poet, Edwin Morgan.
You can trace the shape of the landscape in the structure of the poem.
It is a visual poem or map, showing the range of different names used in Scotland for one of our prettiest garden birds, 'Fringilla Coelebs,' the chaffinch.

Naturalists tell us that,as well as having a different common name in different regions of Scotland, the chaffinch also "calls" in dialect.
Which means, I suppose, that a 'brichtie' sings with a Southern Scots accent, and a 'chaffie' with a Northern one.
Another interesting fact: the female chaffinch will migrate to warmer climes, but many males remain in northern Europe through the winter, which is why the Latin name includes 'coelebs', which means 'the bachelor.'

The chaffinch is our most common species of finch and an easy bird to spot in many environments, because the male is an unmistakeably colourful bird.

During the breeding season in particular, the colours become vivid as the feather tips wear away to reveal their bright plumage.
During winter the colours are more faded, but are still obvious.
The chaffinch has pink-red underparts and cheeks, a buff-chestnut back, and a red-buff head and nape which becomes slate-blue during the breeding season.

Very smart!

Female and baby chaffinches are less colourful, with similar patterning but picked out in shades of brown, with buff under-parts and brown-grey upperparts.
The wings of both sexes are dark with white bars.
Chaffinches have a very distinctive, clear call with varied notes and (as mentioned) regional differences in dialect.

Most commonly a metallic 'pink, pink' or 'chink,chink' sound is heard when the bird is perching.
They are quite small, about 14 -18cm long,plump and perky.
Chaffinches are found in a range of habitats including woods, parks, gardens and hedgerows.
They are likely to be found in more open areas in autumn and winter, when large groups of visiting birds search for seeds to sustain them through the winter.

They tend to avoid bird feeders, preferring to forage on the ground beneath bird tables, or under hedges.
You may see them hopping around in these areas, or perched on branches.
They can become bolder if they are regularly exposed to human contact, so if you regularly eat outside you may find them waiting on the sidelines for stray crumbs.
They can become quite tame, and will eat from your hand.

Chaffinches mainly feed on seeds and fruit, helping to disperse seeds and encourage new plant growth.
They are more likely to prey on insect larvae for their chicks when these have hatched.
I keep thinking about the different dialects of birds.....
I wonder if sparrows chirp with a cockney accent?
And what about this classy china chaffinch?
Maybe  'pink,pink' in Queens English?

A royal crown derby chaffinch

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