Chaffinch (fringilla coelebs, Linn.), one of the most common and most beautiful of the passerine family of birds, a native of Europe. The color of the bill varies according to the season from a blue to a pale reddish brown; the eyes are hazel; the forehead black; upper part of the head and hind neck grayish blue; back reddish brown; fore neck and breast purplish red or dull pink; rump yellowish green; the larger wing coverts black, the secondary tipped with white, the smaller black and grayish with white spots; the quill feathers white at the base and along the inner margin; the tail brownish black, the exterior feather obliquely marked with white, including the middle of the outer web and the terminal third of the inner, the next slightly margined with white internally, and tipped with the same on the inner web; the middle feathers brownish gray, blackish along the shafts. The female has the upper part of the head and the back light grayish brown; the rump yellowish gray. Young like the female, with the tail paler. The variations from these colors are slight, though the tips of the feathers become considerably worn, giving a brighter appearance to the plumage of the head, back, and breast.

Length of the male 6 1/2 inches; extent of wings 11 1/2 inches; bill 1/2 inch; tassus 3/4 inch; the female is a trifle smaller. It is a permanent resident in Great Britain, though in corresponding latitudes on the continent it migrates southward. Its notes are monotonous, generally twink, twink, repeated three or four times; hence its provincial name of twink; it is almost constantly heard in the lanes and gardens from May 1 to the middle of June. In summer they live chiefly on insects, with which they feed their young; in winter they become gregarious and frequent the fields, farm yards, and roads in search of seeds and grain, to aid the digestion of which they swallow smooth particles of gravel. Their flight is rapid, with frequent undulations; on the ground they move with short leaps. The nest is neatly constructed of moss, lichens, wool, feathers, and hair, and is generally of such a gray color as to be seen with difficulty in the cleft of the lichen-covered trees. The eggs arc four or five in number, about three fourths of an inch long, of a purplish white or pale reddish gray color, with a few spots and lines of reddish brown. The chaffinch is one of the most familiar birds, and, with the sparrows and buntings, in the winter will come in flocks around the doors of the farm houses.

They prepare to breed in April, and hatch their first brood by the middle of May, and a second by the end of July. They are much esteemed in Germany as song birds, and are occasionally seen as parlor ornaments elsewhere.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs).

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs).