Bullfinches are striking birds with their bright sunset coloured chests and cheeks. At least the males are: the females are far more muted. Pyrrhula pyrrhula means "flame-coloured flame-coloured".
They're rather shy and their call is a quiet whistle that can get lost around more vocal birds. They're dependent on trees for food so are most at home in woodland. In spring they feed on tree buds, shoots and flowers; in autumn and winter they feed on seeds and they're particularly partial to Ash keys.
They nest in dense woodland undergrowth like Bramble or Blackthorn about 1-2 metres from the ground. So messy, wild woodland with areas of dense untamed undergrowth is ideal for them.
Bullfinches are listed as 'amber' conservation concern in the UK, with a decline of around 40% since the 1960s due to loss of suitable untamed woodland and hedgerow habitat.
Bullfinches feature in 'The Tree That Held The Moon'. Our Ash tree in the book grew from a seed that fell as a Bullfinch feasted on a bunch of keys. Stories are a fantastic way to introduce children to new species and expand their nature vocabulary.