Both parents feed their young

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Fringillidae    Genus & Species: Fringilla coelebs

Found in Western Europe, central Russia and the Middle East.   The chaffinch is a year round resident in Britain and Ireland.  Breeding birds in Northen Europe and Russia migrate southwestwards for the winter.

Although open woodland is their natural breeding ground, the chaffinch has adapted to wooded farmland and gardens.  Outside the breeding season, chaffinches   keep mainly to hornbeam or beech woodland.  Flocks of winter visitors can often be  seen foraging in farmland. 
          The chaffinch is a woodland breeder
Adults tend to roost singly, first year juveniles roost in groups.

Before settling for the night, flocks circle the roost.  Adult birds roost singly whereas first year juveniles will settle in groups of three or four.   Most of the British and Irish birds remain in their territory all year round, never straying more than 5km.  They are joined by migrant birds from Scandinavia in early winter.  The first of these visitors to set out are juveniles.  The ability to navigate is innate and not learned from adults.  Females tend to migrate earlier and farther than males.  Consequenty, more Scandinavian males tend to winter in the Netherlands and England while more females push on to Ireland.

What they eat
The chaffinch feeds mainly on seeds.  They strip the husk by pressing the seed against the upper mandible with its tongue.  During the breeding season, they focus more on invertebrates,sometimes gathering them by pecking them from the ground, but they may make short flights to pursue a flying insect.  In autumn, they take grain from stubble fields and seeds of hedgerow flowers.

In February, resident males restake their territories by singing loudly.   Younger males look out for vacant sites.  All males have a basic song but each may have variations.  Geographically isolated birds have distinct regional dialects.   Regardless of variation, the female can recognize the song of an unpaired male.   She enters his territory giving a call to which he will respond by displaying his white wing bars and red flanks. 
       The young fledge in 14 days
After about six weeks with the male, she builds an intricate nest of lichen, moss, grass, thin roots and down, all held together by spiders webs. This takes about a week to build.  She then lays a clutch of four to five eggs, one at daily intervals.  She starts to incubate them when the last one has been laid.   Incubation takes about 13 days.  The young are tended by both parents.   They fledge in about 14 days but the parents continue to look after them for a further three weeks.

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