The Dawn Chorus

The Dawn Chorus

Long tailed tits © David Foker

Almost as soon as the clocks jumped forward, it seemed as if the dawn chorus leapt up a notch. From nuthatches to jays, birds all over the UK are joining the chorus to defend territory, attract mates, or call in their flock. Spring now really is in full swing.

Once spring is here, I’m always amazed at how quickly things progress. Buds are bursting open everywhere and the trees are suddenly becoming green again. This means that there will soon be an abundance of caterpillars available for the feeding of young birds. All timed perfectly of course.

Almost as soon as the clocks jumped forward, it seemed as if the dawn chorus leapt up a notch. Spring really is in full swing.

Since we’ve been spending so much time at home and in the garden, we’ve had more time to focus on feeding and watching the garden birds.

Tits around bird feeder

© David Foker

Blue tits are nesting in the box on our birch tree and today I noticed a dunnock carrying small, soft feathers into the hedge, presumably to line their nest.

The bird feeders have been busy with a variety of birds over the last few weeks, including blue tits, great tits, chaffinches and nuthatches.

Nuthatches are the only UK bird that you’ll ever see descending a branch or a tree trunk headfirst!
Nuthatch on branch

© Darin Smith

I particularly like the nuthatches as they’re a little bit more unusual to see on a bird feeder. I love the fact that they are apparently the only UK bird that you’ll ever see descending a branch or a tree trunk headfirst! Their name derives from their ability to wedge a nut or a seed into a crevice within a tree trunk and hammer it open with its powerful bill.

I hear the loud whistling call of the nuthatch along the valley all the time at the moment. Other birds I’m hearing at the moment include the chaffinch which I always describe as sounding like a bowler running up and throwing a ball and the great tit that sounds like it’s calling, ‘teacher teacher.’

Over the last few days, we’ve also been lucky enough to have a pair of jays regularly visit the garden. They particularly enjoy the fat balls, but they’re often seen hopping around feeding on the ground below the feeders. I love their striking blue feathers on the side of their body. They’re generally quite shy birds and we tend to hear their loud screeching calls before we see them, particularly in autumn when they’re foraging for acorns.

It can take up to three weeks for a long tailed tit to build its nest.

Finally, I must mention the beautiful little long tailed tits. They are very sociable birds and tend to forage in groups. They are so tiny that they need to huddle together during winter to keep warm. Last week we were very excited to discover a long-tailed tit’s nest in the hedge. It really is a work of art, made up of moss, hair and cobwebs, and then entirely covered with lichen which acts as camouflage. It can take 3 weeks to build this amazing structure.

So, as always, remember to take a few minutes each day to stand and stare (and listen of course) and you may be surprised at how much you will notice.

Blashford Wild Days Out Bioblitz Bush cricket

Blashford Wild Days Out Bioblitz Bush cricket © T Standish

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