[Three Hundred Animals Contents]
IS a very docile bird, and will nearly imitate the sound of a pipe, or the whistle of man, with its voice, whose mellowness is really charming. He is, by bird-fancyers, supposed to excel all other small birds, by the softness of his tones and variety of his notes, except the linnet. In domesticity, we should rather say, in captivity, his melody seems to be as great a solace to himself as a pleasure to his master. By day, and even when the evening has called for the artificial light of candles, he pursues his melodious exertions, and if there is any other birds in the apartment, wakes them gently to the pleasing task of singing in concert with him. His notes are upon one of the lowest keys of the gamut of birds. Thomson says:
The mellow Bull-Finch answers from the grove.
His plumage is beautiful, though simple and uniform, consisting only of three or four shades of colours. In the male a lovely scarlet or crimson colour adorns the breast, throat, and jaws, as far as the eyes; the crown of the head is black; the rump and tail white; the neck and back grey, or of lead-tint. The name of this bird originates from his head appearing too great in proportion with the body. The female does not share with the male the brightness of colours on her plumage. They build their nests in gardens and orchards, and particularly in places that abound in fruit trees, as they are passionately fond of young fruit, which they often destroy before it is ripe.