For the birds

Now that it’s finally warmed up in upstate N.Y., I’m enjoying birdsong outside my window again. It reminds me of the first spring after my husband and I were sent on assignment to the U.K., when I realized that the birdsongs there were quite different. Later that spring, I heard a real live nightingale for the first time. Nothing like it.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my favorite British birds.

European Goldfinch (above) live in the wild but have also been domesticated for a long time, as evidenced in the painting of Madonna of the Goldfinch by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) (right). According to a Myra, a helpful lady with a website on finches, The Finch Niche, the Euro Goldfinch is one of the tamer and more interactive species. It is possible to train them to sit on peoples’ fingers or heads (unlike most finches, which are more, um, flighty) and when whistled to they will whistle back. So I thought they’d make a nice pet for the children in LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE.

Click here to hear a recording of a goldfinch’s song.

Another fave is the nightingale (left). A most romantic bird—just imagine it serenading your moonlit liaison with a dashing Regency hero in a secluded bower. It’s not much to look at, actually, but check out this recording of its song. (Just try to imagine it without the street noises.)

For more birdsongs, check out Northamptonshire Wildlife’s Sound Gallery. They’ve got just about everything including the Common Chiffchaff to the Great Tit (I’m not making these up, honest!)

The images of the goldfinch and nightingale are prints (c.1870) available at More great bird images from Morris’s British Birds 1891 at

Any favorite birds, British or otherwise? Do you enjoy descriptions of nature in a romance, or do they leave you cold?

LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award finalist

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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