The Chaffinch Song Contest, known in German as the ‘Finkenmanöver’ (Finch Manoeuvres), takes place every year from April to June, and is one of the oldest cultural festivals in the Harz mountains. The tradition is said to date back to the late Middle Ages.
It all revolves around the male chaffinch, or rather his birdsong. The Chaffinch Song Contest places particular emphasis on the beauty and length of these songbirds, as well as the completeness, clarity and tone of their song. The bird owners, or finch fanciers, compete to determine whose finch produces the most beautiful birdsong. The birds are kept in cages covered by a white cloth, so that the highly skilled judges can concentrate purely on the melody. This singing contest involves 22 different types of birdsong, all of them unique regional dialects.
You’ll need to be an early bird if you want to experience the Chaffinch Song Contest for yourself – the competition starts early in the morning. The competition takes place shortly after sunrise and is enjoyed by thousands of spectators every year.