Though in the wild state it is no mimic, the engaging BULLFINCH (upper pair, male left) in captivity may easily be taught while young to whistle simple tunes. The LINNET, pleasing vocalist of the European finches, bobs on a twig (right), awaiting its turn at the bath. Eating out of the hand quickly becomes a habit with the pert little EUROPEAN SISKIN (lower left). The gay, sweet-voiced EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (center, below) is far more brilliantly colored than the familiar American species. These four birds, like most of our smaller feathered pets, come from the Old World.

By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine

This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004

Another favorite is the linnet (Carduelis cannabina), valued for its pleasing, varied, warbling song (Color Plate III). It is an excellent cage bird, and with proper handling becomes very tame.

While males in the wild state are marked with crimson on the breast, they often lose most of this color after the first molt in captivity. This species often breeds in well-kept aviaries, and frequently hybridizes with related birds.

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