Finch provides a useful service

ABOUT: The European goldfinch usually builds its nest in introduced trees.

ABOUT: The European goldfinch usually builds its nest in introduced trees.

We live not far from Lake Learmonth and saw a little bird, smaller than a sparrow, with a red helmet and yellow on its wings. We’ve never seen one of these before.

S.C., Windermere.

Your bird is a European goldfinch, a very pretty little introduced bird that likes open country in many farming areas of the Ballarat district. The red on its face and the yellow in its wings are its main features. It is usually seen in small groups, with larger flocks found in autumn and winter. These flocks are often found near hawthorn and gorse bushes.

It has not become a nuisance like some introduced birds and, as its favourite food is thistle seeds, it performs a useful service in keeping thistle numbers down. It does not compete with native finches.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au