Thursday 7 April 2016

Busy birds

Long-tailed tit
(Photo from RSPB website)

Spring has truly sprung, the days are brighter and longer, and the birds are busy rushing around everywhere.

Flocks of long-tailed tits are cleaning the climbing roses of bugs and picking spiders from around the windows frames. I went to open the door of the utility room and there was a little tit hovering just at eye-level outside. Very acrobatic little birds. The RSPB have just published the results of their annual Big Garden Birdwatch which took place in January. The long-tail tits used to be fairly rare but now have reached no 10 position in birds counted throughout the UK and 9 in the county of Leicestershire where we are.

These are the results for Leicestershire:

Species Rank Mean no of birds recorded % gardens seeing bird
House_sparrow 1 4.1 63.3
Blackbird 2 2.9 92.5
Woodpigeon 3 2.6 83.3
Blue_tit 4 2.6 78.4
Starling 5 2.4 36.8
Goldfinch 6 1.8 34.6
Great_tit 7 1.5 59.1
Robin 8 1.4 83.2
Long_tailed_tit 9 1.3 28.9
Chaffinch 10 1.2 39.0
Magpie 11 1.0 51.2
Dunnock 12 1.0 53.0
Collared_dove 13 0.9 41.4
Jackdaw 14 0.6 16.6
Greenfinch 15 0.6 22.5
Coal_tit 16 0.6 31.7
Carrion_crow 17 0.6 23.2
Feral_pigeon 18 0.4 13.2
Wren 19 0.3 29.7
Common_gull 20 0.2 5.9

Looking at the results the long-tailed tit has reached no. 9 in the ranks but only being seen in less than 30% of gardens. Of course when they come, they come in flocks of 10 or sometimes more.

The crows and wood-pigeons are busy building nests. They are taking dried twigs, even pulling off twigs from the red-wood, silver-birch and plum trees. Our neighbour has a very vigorous laurel hedge which provides a nesting-place for many small birds, blackbirds and pigeons. There's a bit of activity by the row of nesting boxes on the summer house, although great-tits often nest on-top just under the roof.

Ducks are busy and even though there are several large ponds close by they seem to enjoy dabbling in the flooded stream that runs through Billy's field that surrounds our garden.

And of course the birds are singing like crazy, especially the black-birds, thrushes and robins. It's a delight to walk around the garden towards evening and hear them all in chorus.

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