Paying attention to the birds in your garden

Disappointed I didn’t take part in the RSPB’s Garden Birdwatch today leaving it too late in the day.  Fingers crossed, I can take part today.   The garden birdwatch is a chance to spend an hour paying attention to the birds in your garden.  It’s relaxing, challenging, and you’ll be surprised what birds visit your garden.  

On a walk with the dogs, I noticed two magpies, a robin singing boldly in the branches a foot or so in front of me (see video) …

.. a crew of garrulous sparrows … 

It was a windy day with ice cold winds.   I noticed the creaky sounds one tree made in the wind… Listen to the first few seconds of the following video.  I couldn’t get any more ‘creaks’ from the tree, perhaps it sense I was recording it.

Variable weather for the day including bright sunshines and the dullest of dismal grey skies.   We had sleet, fine snow, hail and rain.  The weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to be today… it had an identity crisis.

Later in the afternoon I heard a loud noise from above, I looked outside thinking it was a large skein of Canada geese, but it was a squabble of seagulls.  Noisy buggers

A useful page here on collective nouns for birds.

Great Tit and Wren

Noticed a Great Tit (Parus major) high in the tree canopy whilst on my walk with the dogs this morning.  Then in the afternoon spotted a fast-moving wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) at the foot of the privet hedge in front of the patio, searching for bugs in the plant pots.

Tip : the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) publish a really useful guide to UK birds here.

Spring Song and Sunshine

A gloriously sunny day today.  It felt uplifting to be out and about for a walk in this sunshine.  On an early afternoon walk with the dogs, I noticed the Spring song of the robin.  According to the RSPB :

Only for a short period in late summer while they are moulting and inconspicuous do robins stop singing. Both sexes sing. 

As with the nightingale, the song is usually delivered from a concealed perch within a bush or a tree exposed perches are infrequent. Autumn and spring songs are distinctly different. The autumn song starts after the moult, from late summer onwards. It is more subdued and melancholy in its tone, while the spring song is powerful, confident and upbeat. 

The spring song can start as early as mid-December, reaching full force in spring. Its purpose is two-fold: to defend a territory and to attract a mate. Therefore, spring song is far more powerful in males.