I have previously sketched out the reasons why the Linnet is generally regarded as Britain’s least-loved bird.
It’s a little bird – its size signifies its insignificance. It isn’t much of a finch, let alone much of a bird. Size isn’t everything, but the Linnet is in every sense a little bird. It doesn’t measure up in stature to the bold Bullfich or the chirpy Chaffinch.
The male Linnet has a most unsatisfactory plumage with an unfinished look about it. That grey cap suggests lack of both imagination and decisiveness. It’s simply not good enough. And the breast also looks like a rushed job – not a properly crimson breast but a sketch for one. If the Linnet plumage were the result of an art student project it would be marked down, strongly down, for lack of boldness and poor composition.
The chinless Linnet is a ditherer. It flits and flutters as it tuts and twitters. No sense comes from its beak and it has no sense of direction. Flying round in circles is the closest the Linnet comes to making a decision.
No wonder that the move to remove the Linnet from field guides, or at least to move it to an appendix, is growing apace. Twites, Goldfinches and Siskins are understood to be in favour of this move and a Brambling was quoted as saying ‘The Linnet just messes up our page in the books. It’s embarrassing sharing a page with this apology for a finch. We want a DNA test – it’s probably a pipit really.’.
The BOU was unavailable for comment.