They are one of my favourite breeds of bird and we have at least 8 pairs that come to take the niger seed from our feeders...this is getting a bit Fr Zish!
The common or garden goldfinch is featured a great deal in paintings of the Madonna and Christ Child and there are several accounts of its importance in terms of Good Friday. The most common legend has it that a goldfinch alighted on the cross and tried to remove thorns from the head of Christ with its beak (hence the bird has a face stained with the blood of Christ). Then again, the bird appears, as above, with the infant Christ as a prophetic symbol of what is to come.
The British Goldfinch and its Siberian cousin are basically the same, a quite gaudy bird with feathers in black, brown, red, white and yellow. Readers from the USA have, I believe, a species that is yellow and black.
Please note: I am being good this week and not posting on controversial issues, in fact, not posting too much really, the approach of Good Friday is something that I always find rather sombre.