Linnet / Bluthänfling / Carduelis cannabina
The Linnet is found throughout all of Europe with the exception of northern Scandinavia, and inhabits open areas, parks, gardens, and cemeteries, and other spaces with mature growth. Their territory extends as far east as Siberia, and as far south as the Canary Islands. In moderate climates they stay year-round, in northern areas migrating south for the winter. In winter, the linnets form small flocks, often together with other seed-eating bird species. Individual pairs may remain together as well during this time. In April the birds seek nesting sites and begin immediately with nest construction, using blades of grass and roots, lining the nest with thistledown, horsehair, etc. The nest is typically found 1-2 meters high in heavily-branched pine or spruce trees, and occasionally in raspberry bushes.
Length: 13 cm. The red coloring of the male is slight or totally lacking on the female
Egg size: 14,7 - 22,2 x 11,2 - 14,9 mm
Song: nice flute sounds, he is one of the best singers within the carduelian family.
he imitate other birdsongs as well
What does it sound like ? A warbling, twittering song; call a twittering 'chi chi chi chi'
The female incubates the 5-6 eggs for 11-14 days. The parents feed the young with crushed and pre-digested seed. The parents feed primarily as well on the seeds of various plants such as dandelion, thistle, etc. They also feed on tender plant shoots, and an occasional insect as well.
Due to his beautiful twittering song the Linnet used to be frequently kept as a caged bird. The red-breasted male usually sings from a high perch, but also sometimes during flight. During mating the male sometimes makes a series of low calls. With hanging wings and spread tail the male “shakes his feathers”. The social birds even sings in “choirs” and often nest in loosely formed colonies. In fall they form flocks numbering in the hundreds with other finches in mowed fields and in meadows, etc. in search of food. They prefer to nest in areas with lots of low bushes, often hedges, nurseries, parks, cemeteries, and large gardens. They can also be found in mountainous areas up to the tree line. Among seed-eaters, the diet of the green finch and linnet consists of a higher quantity of plant food.
For successful breeding of the linnet, the birds should be kept either in pairs in a roomy community aviary, or in an individual aviary of at least the following size: 2m deep, 2m high, 1.2m wide. Approximately half of the aviary should be protected from wind and rain and on hot days, provide shade. In the enclosed portion, a nest should be available such as a canary basket. So that the birds feel even safer, it should be densely surrounded with evergreen branches and twigs. Take care however, that observation of the nest and banding of the baby birds is still possible. As nest material I use horsehair, sisal, and coconut fiber, as well as plant silk from thistle, dandelion, and Scharpie. If the pair accept each other, courting and mating occur, then the nest is built, and finally the egg laying begins. After about 12 days the chicks hatch. The parents should be given a wide variety of fresh seed, even before the eggs hatch. Sprouted seed may also be provided, taking care that it doesn’t spoil! My linnets consume little or no insect food, but you can certainly try providing green aphids. After five days the young are fed by the male, as the female leaves the nest more frequently. Previous to this time, she is well cared for by the male and leaves the nest only to drink and relieve herself.
Banding should occur on the 5th or 6th day after hatching. If you wish to provide the birds the opportunity for natural coupling, in order to obtain better breeding results the birds should be placed in a community aviary in fall. Use colored rings to facilitate the identification of the pairs in spring. In fall and winter the seed mixture can contain more fat. Use water heaters to ensure that the drinking water does not freeze.
Where does it live?
The linnet is a lowland farmland bird, preferring areas of scrub such as gorse or blackthorn, suitable hedges, especially hawthorn, or low trees. It may also be found in orchards, heathland, uncultivated land and saltmarshes, and is becoming more common in parks, gardens and other suburban habitats.
After breeding, large flocks form in stubbles, set-asides, fallow fields and waste ground. They will settle in an area of food supply and may feed in the same fields for several days.
Where to see it
While widespread across the UK, there are concentrations along the east coast from Kent to Aberdeenshire but they are scarce in upland regions and north west Scotland. Look for it on commons, heathland, rough ground, farmland hedges, saltmarshes and in parks and gardens.
What does it eat?
Seeds and insects.
When to see it ? All year round.