The females lack the redness and are a bit more brownish, but have the white underparts. It derives its name from its fondness for flax (linseed) which is a core component of linen. The Linnet was once a very popular cage bird because of its melodious song.
They are in the UK all-year-round and gather in large flocks during the winter months. But some Linnets migrate to warmer parts of mainland Europe.
Over the last few decades in England and Wales, there has been a dramatic decline in Linnet numbers. According to the BTO, they are a red listed species of high conservation concern. Recent surveys show there has been a population increase in Scotland and Ireland.
Linnets feed on dandelion seed, oil rape seed and - as already mentioned - linseed plus other seeds. But they also eat insects, especially in the summer. This intake of natural protein and moisture gives their young the best natural start in life.
Providing food in the garden to support the natural diet of Linnets is easy. Live mealworms contain plenty of protein and moisture. And Native Finch is amongst our most popular seed-rich diets. Because it contains so many different varieties of seeds. It's rich in natural oils and its job is to attract and feed Britain's beautiful finches. That's not to say that it's exclusive to finches as Blue Tits and Great Tits love it.
Native Finch includes the Goldfinch 'magnet' Niger Seed. It also contains oil-rich Hemp and that Linnet favourite, Linseed.
Feed Native Finch from a tube-type seed feeder, bird tables or sprinkle a little on the ground. Linnets are usually seen feeding near or on the ground.
Look out for these lovely birds in commons, heathland, farmland hedges, rough ground areas, in parks and - of course - gardens.