The European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) is native to Europe, western and central Asia, as well as parts of northern Africa. Due to their pretty plumage and pleasing voice, the finches have been kept as cage birds for many centuries and escapees eventually formed populations in a number of additional places including Australia, New Zealand, and South America. The birds favor open or partially wooded lowlands, but can also be found in parks and gardens. Only the northernmost populations migrate south during the winter months. Goldfinches feed mainly on seeds, especially those of thistles, and can also be seen at bird feeders. Because of this preference for thistles, the birds became a symbol for the passion of Christ (“crown of thorns”) and can be seen in many paintings of this scene created during the last centuries. I once heard a nice tale saying that a goldfinch pulled the thorns from the forehead of Christ to ease his suffering and due to his blood, the head of the goldfinch turned red. I have photographed these colourful birds in northern Germany during the Easter holidays (April 2015) – how appropriate!