# Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Its the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend. All you need to do to take part is count the number of birds you see in your garden for an hour during the weekend. It runs from the 25th to the 36th of January and helps the RSPB to get an idea of how our birds are faring numbers wise. You can register on the site now and take advantage of the guide if you are not sure what species you are seeing.

posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 11:20:03 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, October 03, 2013

Is something I have always wondered. This article suggests that male chaffinches, at least develop different accents depending upon where they live. US scientists studied 723 male chaffinches in 12 different populations across Europe, the Azores and the Canaries. They found that the notes became more unpredictable they further they moved, with those birds in smaller island populations singing the same notes with a more structured pattern. I wonder then whether birds from different populations will soon be unable to understand each other.

posted on Thursday, October 03, 2013 9:34:28 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, June 22, 2013

Research suggests that we might have underestimated the intelligence of chickens. Studies have shown that they exhibit intelligent behaviour within just a few hours of hatching. In fact they are cleverer than four year old toddlers. Hens are able to master a number of complex skills including numeracy, self control and structural engineering. They are also able to show basic empathy, they can plan ahead and exhibit self control.

posted on Saturday, June 22, 2013 9:04:58 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, May 11, 2013

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I always like the cute and fluffy stories so was pleased to come across this one about a family of ducks who caused havoc in Shrewsbury. The ducks decided they wanted to have a leisurely stroll through town and managed to cause a mile long tailback in the town as drivers waited to let the ducks go past. The ducks were eventually guided to the River Severn away from the danger of the road.

posted on Saturday, May 11, 2013 11:32:05 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, April 28, 2013

Is the message at one park in Edinburgh. Park wardens at Holyrood Park have been confiscating white bread and replacing it with healthier snacks. Officials claim that white bread causes arthritis, birth defects and starvation so have taken the measures to protect the parks birdlife. The RSPB on the other hand say that all bread is fine providing that birds have a balanced diet. The message here is clear, if you want to feed the birds, particularly at Holyrood Park then wholemeal bread or seed is the thing to buy.

posted on Sunday, April 28, 2013 8:40:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 02, 2013

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If you have a bit of spare cash and want something a little out of the ordinary, then you might be interested in this dodo bone. Being auctioned at Christie’s the bone is a fragment of femur from an extinct dodo. It is thought it will fetch between £10,000 and £15,000 and is the first dodo bone to be auctioned since 1934.

posted on Tuesday, April 02, 2013 7:02:34 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 28, 2013

HeronWe get a lot of wildlife in the garden but it’s not often we have a heron. I managed to get a few pictures when this one landed in one of the trees the other day.

posted on Monday, January 28, 2013 8:30:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, January 26, 2013

If you have an hour to spare this weekend then take time to count the birds you see in your garden as part of the RSPB Garden Birdwatch. Your results can be submitted here and will be used by the RSPB to monitor trends and understand how different birds are doing. I did mine this morning and spotted 4 blackbirds, 1 robin, 4 blue tits, 5 wood pigeons, 1 crow and 4 collared doves.

posted on Saturday, January 26, 2013 6:50:54 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 14, 2013

Feeding the ducks with leftover bread is a favourite pastime for many but experts have warned too much white bread can be bad for them. It seems it can leave ducks bloated, ill and in danger from predators as it is less nutritious than their normal food. Experts have warned that ducks may even develop a craving for treats such as bread, leftover chips and takeaways and become reluctant to forage for food. People have been urged to swap white bread for more nutritious food such as grains and pieces of cut up vegetables. So next time you feed the ducks perhaps you might need to take them some more healthy snacks. 

posted on Monday, January 14, 2013 9:24:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Claims research from the national Autonomous University of Mexico. The research has found that house finches such as those pictured have been filling their nests with cigarette butts in order to repel mites. The nicotine in the discarded filter acts as a natural pesticide against the mites as well as providing nest insulation.

posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:39:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, November 11, 2012

This is interesting it’s an incidence of drunk blackbirds. I had been unaware that birds could get drunk from fermenting berries but it appears that they can. 12 blackbirds in Cumbria were found dead with trauma injuries. A post mortem found that one of the birds had high levels of ethanol in its liver. It seems that all the dead birds had eaten berries from a nearby rowan tree which had fermented in the gut causing them to turn into alcohol. One of the birds which was found to be unsteady on its feet was treated at a local wildlife centre and later made a full recovery.

posted on Sunday, November 11, 2012 8:44:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, September 02, 2012

This is interesting, it’s the mystery of a large number of missing pigeons in Yorkshire. Some people are likening the disappearances to the Bermuda Triangle. At a recent racing event only 13 out of 232 pigeons retuned to their coop. At another event 200 out of the 1000 birds went missing. There are many theories as to what is happening to the pigeons. Some say that the birds may have been trying to avoid rainclouds over North Yorkshire and never managed to get back on course. Other suspect it might be peregrine falcons hunting in the area. Either way a large number of birds are going missing and as yet no one knows why.

posted on Sunday, September 02, 2012 9:26:07 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I have already read that the cold wet summer has been bad for butterflies and bats, so it seems only logical that our garden birds have also suffered. A RSPB survey has shown that the weather has affected the chicks of species such as blackbirds, song thrushes and robins. Once again it is the fact that the adult birds have had trouble finding enough food for their chicks. Birds have faced longer searches for food as insects are unable to fly in wet weather, meaning they are away from the nest for longer periods of time, exposing the chicks to chilly, wet conditions. I would think, however, that those birds, that eat slugs and snails would have done better this year, I have never seen so many of creatures on the lawn every morning as I have this year. Perhaps, natural selection will start to favour those that have developed an appetite for slugs.

posted on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 8:24:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, July 25, 2012

RobinExperimenting with my new camera lens I managed to get a picture of this robin as it landed on the bird table.

posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 9:11:30 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, July 22, 2012

New research has found that industrial and traffic noise in urban areas could affect communication between the parent and baby birds making them less likely to be fed. Research from the University of Sheffield has found that noise in urban environments can make it difficult for the adult sparrows to hear their young impairing the chicks growth. The research compared birds living in urban areas with those living in quieter locations. It found that birds living in quiet barns and woodland areas were fed more than those in noisier environments. This led to them being heavier when they were fully fledged and better prepared for survival. In fact parent birds made 25% fewer visits in the noisy area leading to a reduction in food intake.

The sparrow is listed as a species of high conservation concern with the population in the UK declining by 66% between 1970 and 2009 with the worst declines being found in the south and east. This does seem to fit with the research. I can’t remember the last time I saw a sparrow in Sevenoaks, although I do remember they were abundant 20 years ago. I wonder how much of this is due to noise and how much is down to loss of habitat.

posted on Sunday, July 22, 2012 9:16:35 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sparrowhawk

I was testing out a new lens for my camera and was lucky enough to catch a sparrowhawk in the garden just as he caught his lunch. They do hunt in the garden quite regularly but this is the first time I have been able to catch one on camera.

posted on Saturday, July 21, 2012 8:59:51 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, July 01, 2012

If you are looking for a new car then you might want to avoid a red one, particularly if you find cleaning it tedious. It seems red cars are more likely to be hit by bird poo than any other colour. It is not clear why they have a preference for red but it has been suggested that it signifies danger. Research carried out in five cities found that 18% of red cars were marked with bird poo, followed by 14% of blue cars, 11% of black cars and 7% of white cars. Green cars were the birds least favourite with only 1% being marked by bird poo.

posted on Sunday, July 01, 2012 8:51:59 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hen harriers could soon be wiped out in England if measures are not put into place to save them. The birds which had enjoyed something of a boost of numbers are now close to being wiped out due to illegal persecution. There is only only one pair known to be nesting this year according to the RSPB. Hen harriers are not hugely popular in areas used for grouse shooting as they tend to eat the grouse. It is this that leads to them being illegally poisoned and makes saving the species somewhat more challenging. If only one pair of the birds nests in England this year it will be the  worst breeding season since the 1960s. The RSPB believes the way forward is to try and make grouse shoots viable without resorting to killing birds of prey. A measure such as diversionary feeding in which alternative food is provided for the hen harriers is one tactic that could be used. I wonder whether there should also be greater sentences for those are found to be targeting endangered species.

posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:18:21 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 15, 2012
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If this picture is genuine it is quite unique in that it shows an eagle holding a knife. It is claimed that it was taken by a photographer who cutting up chunks of meat to attract birds of prey dropped his knife in the snow. He later noticed the eagle flying away with the knife. I can’t help thinking the picture has been Photo shopped but none the less it’s a nice image.

posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2012 1:00:53 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 14, 2012

It seems turtle doves could soon be a thing of the past if a RSPB rescue mission is not successful. There has been a dramatic decline in the numbers of turtle doves according to the RSPB who are launching an urgent mission to reverse the decline in numbers. As part of the scheme plots of farming land will be sown with seed rich plants to try and replace sources of food that are now scarce in the countryside. Captive turtle doves will also be studied to see which seed mixtures are most popular and nutritious for the birds. The decline of the species is not fully understood but it is thought that it is due to changes in farming methods which mean the wild plants the birds depend upon are now rare in the countryside.

posted on Monday, May 14, 2012 9:42:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, April 26, 2012

Has been a question which has baffled people for some time. A live chicken birth may confuse the issue even further. A chicken was recently born in Sri Lanka without an egg. It had been incubated inside the hen’s body for 21 days before hatching. Although the chick survived and was fully formed, the mother died from internal injuries.

posted on Thursday, April 26, 2012 9:00:17 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, February 01, 2012

article-2091973-1176B3E6000005DC-510_634x395A rare white penguin has been pictured in Antarctica. The Chinstrap penguin was photographed by naturalist David Stephens during an expedition to the Aitcho Islands. The penguins normally have black and white plumage but this one suffers from leucism, a condition that occurs in around one in every 146,000 penguins. It is different from albinism which is a complete lack of skin pigment. Instead it has pigmented eyes and a paler version of the normal penguins colouring.

posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2012 10:37:46 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 29, 2012
_57997518_picturecredit-nottscountycouncil

This unusual white blackbird has recently been pictured in a park in Nottinghamshire. The bird is leucistic, a genetic mutation which prevents pigments from being deposited normally in its feathers. Despite white birds being more vulnerable to predators it has been living in the the woodland of Rufford Abbey Country Park for the past four years and during that time has gradually shed any black plumage to become completely white.

posted on Sunday, January 29, 2012 11:14:50 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 27, 2012

There is still time to register for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which is this weekend. All you need to do is register your details on the website at the following link. http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/  Then just spend an hour recording the birds that visit your garden on either Saturday 28th or Sunday the 29th. When you have finished go back to the website and submit your results. The results help the RSPB to get an idea of the numbers of different bird species in each region so they can see how they are doing and spot any problems with decline.

posted on Friday, January 27, 2012 2:45:38 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 08, 2012

article-2080644-0F4C3C6900000578-548_634x286Corn Buntings are currently an endangered species so this picture of a large flock of the birds photographed near Devizes in Wiltshire is good news for the species. Numbers of the birds have plunged in recent years due to intensive farming methods which have seen field margins being ploughed up, leaving the birds nowhere to lay their eggs. In fact numbers of the birds have fallen by nearly 90% over the last 40 years. It is thought that recent schemes which pay farmers to improve their environment are starting to have an effect and numbers of the birds have increased by about 5% over the last three years. These measures include growing fields of spring barley and leaving stubble over the winter rather than ploughing the fields so seeds are available for food.

posted on Sunday, January 08, 2012 11:21:21 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, January 06, 2012

article-2078989-0F47B34300000578-830_634x417This white kiwi was recently hatched at Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre, New Zealand. The bird is white because both of its parents are thought to have carried a recessive white gene which caused its pure white feathers. Although rare, this is the second white kiwi to be hatched at New Zealand’s national wildlife centre, with the first being hatched in May. The birds usually have a brown plumage.

posted on Friday, January 06, 2012 9:36:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 31, 2011

If you are thinking of serving up some wild rook stew in your restaurant then you might find this article interesting. It lays out the rules and regulations which apply to killing and eating wild birds in the UK. The article which appears to have been written after a restaurant was asked to stop selling rook salad looks at the regulations. All wild birds are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981. Despite this it is legal to eat some species if they are killed under licence but they can not be sold for human consumption. It is, however, legal to eat a wild bird if it has been killed by someone else or it has been discovered dead as road kill. There are also some birds which are protected and for which no licence to kill can be granted such as golden eagles, red kites and woodlarks. So presumably if I come across a pheasant that I want to eat I need to try and run it down with my car.

posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 9:32:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, August 20, 2011

According to this article our native birds are facing an increased threat from malaria. It seems mosquitoes are doing particularly well in the UK due to the warm and wet conditions. It is this rise that is leading to increased cases of malaria in birds. Around 30 species of birds are affected and growing numbers are dying. It is thought that 30% of UK house sparrows are infected with malaria compared with 10% in 1990. Two thirds of tawny owls are affected and 15% of great tits. The disease whilst not always fatal does now appear to be a significant factor in the decline of our birds. Whilst this type of disease can not be transmitted to humans the latest analysis carried out on malaria infection rates suggest that increases in global temperatures could eventually lead to a return of human malaria to northern Europe.

posted on Saturday, August 20, 2011 11:59:10 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 10, 2011

According to this article our garden birds are currently being hit by an avian pox virus. The virus which leads to warty tumour like growths on birds has been affecting a wide range of birds including dunnocks, house sparrow, starlings and wood pigeons. The worst affected birds, however, seem to be great tits which seem to suffer from much more severe infections. Conservationists are calling for member's of the public to help track the spread of the disease by looking out for birds with symptoms and reporting them to the RSPB Wildlife Enquiries Unit on 01767 693690. It is thought the virus is spread through direct contact between birds and also indirect contact via perches and bird feeders where the birds congregate. You can help by keeping any bird tables and birds feeders disinfected to try and prevent the spread of any disease.

posted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 11:38:20 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 07, 2011

A penguin who recently turned up on a beach in New Zealand after getting lost is soon due to be released back into the wild after receiving treatment. Happy Feet as he has been nicknamed has been recovering at Wellington zoo after he became ill due to eating sand which he may has mistaken for snow. He has now gained some weight and is due to be released offshore in the next few weeks. Hopefully he will be able to find his way back home.

posted on Sunday, August 07, 2011 12:15:58 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, July 19, 2011

_54026035_012428936-1This is interesting, its a selection of photos showing the imprints left by birds that have flown into windows. This one shows an owl that crashed into a window in Kendal. The print would have been left by the powder down substance that protects the birds feathers.

posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 9:36:02 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, July 17, 2011
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This is interesting it’s a snail that can survive being digested by birds. A study of the diet of Japanese white eyes on the island of Hahajima has found that 15% of the tiny snails eaten by the birds survive the digestion process and are found alive in the birds droppings. The evidence could be a key factor in how the populations of snails are able to spread. Previous research had found that pond snails can survive being eaten by fish but this is the first time that land snails have been found to survive the digestive process.

posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 11:50:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, June 28, 2011

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An Emperor penguin has turned up in New Zealand after apparently getting lost. It is the first penguin seen in the country for 44 years and is around 4,000 miles away from its usual habitat. Emperor penguins usually live in Antarctica and it is not clear exactly why this one has turned up in New Zealand, but it is thought it might be a young penguin who has simply got lost. Unfortunately the sand and heat of New Zealand are not suited to penguins so in order to survive he will have to try and find his way back home. 

The penguin was later hospitalised after eating sand in an effort to cool himself down, thinking it was snow. It is hoped he will soon recover and be released back into the wild to try and find his way home.

posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:18:52 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, June 23, 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests magpies are able to identify humans that have posed a threat to their nest and recognise them again. A team in South Korea made the discovery during routine research on a nest monitoring study. During this research it was found that when a researcher approached a nest he had previously climbed up to, the magpie behaved very aggressively. When someone approached the nest who had not previously approached the birds they would simply fly away. Despite trying to disguise the researcher who had previously disturbed the nest by having him wear different clothing, the birds would always identify him. American crows and Northern mockingbirds have also been found to have a similar ability. I guess the message here is, don’t upset magpies they will remember you.

posted on Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:26:22 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, June 01, 2011

untitled4,000 miles is a really long way, especially when you consider that’s how far this little bird can travel.  The bird is a great snipe, a surprising candidate for one of the hardiest flyers in the animal world. Recent studies which tracked some of the birds using electronic tags have found that they not only fly up to 4,000 miles in three days without stopping but that they also do this at speeds of around 60mph. Three birds were tagged, with the results showing one bird flew 3,834 miles in 3 days. Another managed 4,445 miles in 3 and a half days, while a third managed 2,871 miles in just 48 hours. The birds were so intent on getting to their destinations that they would also fly over stopover sites when they were available, preferring to carry on their journey. Although other birds have been know to fly for longer distances, so far none have been found to cover these sorts of distances so quickly.

posted on Wednesday, June 01, 2011 10:01:25 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 25, 2011

article-1306151537312-0C382D1A00000578-215274_636x370This is an interesting idea, devised by a Chinese farmer. In order to stop his chickens from fighting he has fitted them with specially designed plastic glasses. The glasses prevent the birds from seeing straight ahead and so make direct confrontation with other roosters more difficult as they are forced to look around the sides and be more cautious. Although it sounds ridiculous the farmer claims that his normally aggressive roosters are a lot more peaceful now they are wearing the glasses.

posted on Wednesday, May 25, 2011 2:05:25 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, May 19, 2011

That’s the message from the RSPB after the recent dry spell. It seems that the RSPB have received a lot of calls to report swallows and martins searching for mud to repair their nests. With the dry weather, however, mud supplies are not readily available. The RSPB recommends putting out a shallow container such as a dustbin lid full of mud or creating damp patches around the edges of borders and ponds for birds. Swallows and martins rely on mud in order to build new nests and make repairs to old ones. Without the right materials available it can affect their chances of breeding successfully, particularly during these dry spells when martin nests dry out and fall to the ground with the young still inside. It’s not something I really considered but I will be off to make some muddy areas in the garden.

posted on Thursday, May 19, 2011 9:41:39 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 10, 2011

article-1381435-0BCC4BC600000578-985_468x354According to this article the Red Kite is once again doing well after being brought back from the brink of extinction. Twenty years ago the birds were almost extinct, however, a conservation programme has been quite successful. According to a RSPB survey the bird is now the 53rd most common bird in British gardens. The birds were driven to extinction in the 1880s when they were thought of as vermin. A conservation programme was started in 1989 to reintroduce birds from Sweden, Germany and Spain. Since then kites have been successfully brought back to the Chilterns, Northamptonshire, Gateshead, Yorkshire and north Scotland. Now there are thought be around 1,000 breeding pairs in the UK.

posted on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:23:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, May 07, 2011

That’s according to a recent study which looked at why certain birds are able to thrive in European cities. The study found that city dwelling birds have larger brains relative to their body size making them more more adaptable to the changeable conditions of living in the city. Researchers from the Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala, Sweden and the Donana Biological Station, Seville looked at birds such as tits, crows, nuthatches and wrens, studying 82 species of birds from 22 families. The key similarity between them were that they all had a larger brain size relative to body size. I wonder whether the same is true for other animals and perhaps even people.

posted on Saturday, May 07, 2011 9:05:49 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, April 23, 2011

According to this article the number of penguins has halved in the 30 years. The problem is that climate change has been responsible for a decline in the the number of krill, the penguins main source of food. The huge reduction in numbers of the penguins main prey appears to be having a direct affect on the numbers of penguins. Krill density has dropped by as much as 80% due to rising temperatures and increased competition from marine mammals. It was previously thought that melting sea ice was behind the decline in the penguin populations, however, the new evidence reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests it is mainly due to krill loss.

posted on Saturday, April 23, 2011 12:47:55 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, April 09, 2011

If you like me participated in the Big Garden Birdwatch then you might be interested in this article. It looks at the results of the birdwatch which found small birds have actually increased in numbers despite the harsh winter. Findings of goldcrests have doubled whilst long tailed tits have increased by a third and coal tits have increased by a quarter. Some other results are listed below but it certainly looks like encouraging news for songbirds. We are lucky to have lots of different types of birds in our garden, and I try to encourage them by leaving out bird feeders and leaving some wild areas for insects.

House sparrow - 4.2 birds per garden in 2011, rise from 3.8 in 2010

Starling - 3.9, up from 3.1

Blackbird - 3.3, stayed the same

Blue tit - 3.2, up from 2.6

Chaffinch - 2.4, up from 2.2

Wood pigeon - 1.9, stayed the same

Great tit - 1.6, up from 1.4

Goldfinch - 1.5, up from 1.3

Robin - 1.5, stayed the same

Collared Dove - 1.3, stayed the same at 1.3

posted on Saturday, April 09, 2011 1:18:07 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, March 07, 2011

_51376091_brown_grey_tawniesThat’s according to this article which suggests the owls are evolving to deal with increasing temperatures. Feather colour in owls is hereditary with grey plumage being more common than brown. Scientists in Finland have studied the owl and found that as the winters become milder the grey owls are more likely to disappear. It seems when the winter weather is more severe there is a greater mortality rate in the brown owl population possibly because they are more visible to predators when there is thick snow cover. The brown owls although they have  other disadvantages such as a weaker immune system have greatly increased as the winters have become warmer whilst the grey owls have declined. If the decline continues and the grey owl becomes removed from the gene pool then eventually only the one colour variation could remain.

posted on Monday, March 07, 2011 9:05:04 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, March 01, 2011

article-0-07517766000005DC-854_233x423If this article is to be believed it seems breeding programmes to reintroduce red kites to parts of the UK have met with some success. There are now though to be around 1,800 pairs of red kites in the UK which is encouraging news, particularly as they were almost hunted to extinction in Victorian times. There was thought to be just a handful of breeding pairs remaining by the 1960s, however, a programme to reintroduce the birds was started 20 years ago. This along with the fact that there is more food for the birds due to many local councils collecting rubbish less often appears to have helped their numbers. The birds are mainly scavengers, eating small animals and discarded food so are greatly helped by areas with overflowing wheelie bins and black bin sacks which are easy for them to break into.

posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 11:05:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, February 09, 2011

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If you want to give the feathered friends in your garden a bit of luxury then this birdhouse might be just the thing. With 103 luxury rooms, fly by tunnels and a swimming pool it’s not really your average birdhouse. Made from cedar wood it is an impressive nine feet high. It is made by John Loose who specialises in bird accommodation. His creations cost anything from £1,000 to £15,000 so these are certainly for the slightly wealthier bird lover.

posted on Wednesday, February 09, 2011 10:04:36 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, February 05, 2011

According to this article Songbird Survival is planning an experimental cull of some larger predators such as magpies and crows in an effort to find out if they are responsible for wiping out songbirds. Songbirds have seen a dramatic decline over the past 50 years which some have linked to rising numbers of avian predators. Under the plan four areas will be set aside where the predators will be humanly culled. This will be compared with similar test areas where the population will be left unharmed and the two compared to see the results.

The RSPB says there is no evidence that crows and magpies are behind the decline, rather that is it other factors such as lack of nesting areas and lack of food in winter that are the blame. Personally I’m not sure a cull is the way to go, we have large numbers of crows, jays and magpies in our local area but also an abundance of songbirds. It will still be interesting to revisit this article to see the findings of the study.

posted on Saturday, February 05, 2011 12:43:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, January 30, 2011

According to this article numbers of wild birds in the UK are still falling dramatically. Populations of farmland birds are at a record low and woodland birds are also experiencing a 24% decline. Only seabird populations remain above 1970 levels. The decline has been blamed on habitat changes which means there are fewer nesting sites for birds. Food shortages may also play a part in the falling numbers. Some solutions include projects to financially reward farmers for managing land in an environmentally friendly way.

posted on Sunday, January 30, 2011 12:50:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 10, 2011

A vulture has been arrested in Saudi Arabia on suspicion of being a spy. The vulture was tagged at a Tel Aviv University as part of a migration research project. It flew in Saudi territory where the transmitter which read “Tel Aviv University” aroused suspicion. It is now being held on the suspicion that it is a Mossad spy. It is not yet clear what methods of questioning are being used to determine whether the bird is innocent of the alleged offence.

posted on Monday, January 10, 2011 10:10:55 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, December 26, 2010

If the recent bad weather is starting to get down then you might want to try listening to some bird song. Naturalists claim that listening to five minutes of bird song is just the thing to improve your mood and give you a much needed warm glow. Not only does it ease tension but it also reminds us that spring is just around the corner. The National Trust has compiled recordings of the dawn chorus as a reminder that spring is just around the corner. They can be heard and downloaded at the website at the following link.

posted on Sunday, December 26, 2010 1:29:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In one of the more bizarre stories I have come across regarding the recent bad weather a swan has to be rescued after it became frozen to the ground. The swan was stuck on a driveway by its feet which had frozen to the ground. The home owner managed to release it by pouring warm water around its feet but one of its feet appeared to be damaged. It was later collected by Bishop Wood Swan Rescue a local voluntary group.

posted on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 12:54:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, December 13, 2010

This is interesting, it’s a video looking inside what is thought to be the world’s most expensive book. The book is John James Audubon's Birds of America. Apparently it caused something of a sensation when it was published in the 19th Century. It has been valued at between £4m and £6m and is being sold as part of the collection from the estate of the 2nd Baron Hesketh. Whilst quite impressive what is interesting is that the illustrations would have been completed by people who had never actually seen a live example of the birds in question, hence why they lack background detail and in some case they were dismissed an inaccurate.

posted on Monday, December 13, 2010 8:40:10 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 09, 2010

According to this article we will see less robins this year as their numbers are 27% lower than average. In fact robin numbers are at their lowest since 1997 according to a recent study. It is thought the decline is down to last years harsh winter which reduced the amount of food available for the birds. As the robin does not migrate in winter they tend to suffer more than other birds in freezing conditions. I have quite a few robins in my garden and have been keeping them well fed with seed, bread and kitchen scraps particularly during the recent snow when their food is harder to find.

posted on Thursday, December 09, 2010 10:18:11 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, December 03, 2010

That's’ according to this article which highlights how reliant the birds are upon human intervention. The birds have been brought back from the brink of extinction by a programme to install nest boxes. However, without a continued conservation effort the birds could be at risk. Between the 1930s and 1980s numbers of barn owls fell by as much as 70% with only 4,000 breeding pairs of birds. It is thought that the installation of nest boxes has now halted the decline and in some cases it has been reversed. Barn owls are largely reliant on areas of ungrazed and unmown grassland where their favourite food field voles like to live. With less of this type of habitat available barn owls tend to hunt alongside roadside verges which is unfortunately a risky pursuit with large numbers being killed by cars every year. Whilst the nestbox scheme is encouraging it appears it needs to be an ongoing project in order to save the species.

posted on Friday, December 03, 2010 2:35:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, November 18, 2010

According to this article numbers of young sea eagles in Scotland are soaring. Sea eagles were re-introduced to Scotland 35 years ago and it appears the programme has met with some success. During 2010 pairs of white tailed sea eagles produced more young than in any year since they were reintroduced. Around 46 young birds were fledged this year about 10 more than the previous year. It is thought there are now 52 breeding pairs of sea eagles in Scotland. The birds were hunted to extinction over the 19th and 20th Centuries but these recent figures are certainly encouraging news for the species.

posted on Thursday, November 18, 2010 10:39:09 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, November 17, 2010

According to this article sensors are to be installed in Norfolk in an effort to cut the number of owls being killed by traffic. The Hawk and Owl trust will identify black spots where barn owls have been killed in the past. They will install a type of sensor at these spots that has already been trialled on moose in Sweden and the great grey owl. The sensors work by reacting to car headlights and emitting a noise that deflects wildlife away from the road. It is hoped that the noise will alert owls and other birds of prey as they hunt along the roadside verges and reduce the mortality rate of birds killed on the road.

posted on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 12:04:57 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Scientists are planning an operation to save seabirds on the Pitcairn Islands. Henderson petrels are one of four rare birds that are found only on the island. They are under threat because their chicks are being eaten alive by rats with which the island has become infested. Nearly 50 million pellets of rat poison will be dropped on the islands in an effort to save the birds. Other species that are threatened include the Henderson reed-warbler, the Henderson crake, the Henderson fruit-dove and the Henderson lorikeet. The operation will cost around £1.7 million and the whole island will need to be covered with around 98 tonnes of cereal pellets. For it to be successful is would be essential that no single pregnant rat remains alive.

posted on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:47:46 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, November 15, 2010

Scientists have found that Drongos in the Kalahari have developed a way of stealing food from meerkats. The birds follow the animals around until the meerkats have found some food and then fake alarm calls. This causes the meerkats to run for their burrows abandoning the food and leaving it for the birds. The birds do not use their own alarm calls but those of other species changing them frequently. This persuades the meerkat that there is a dangerous predator in the area.

posted on Monday, November 15, 2010 11:49:15 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, November 14, 2010

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I have always been fascinated by these brightly coloured birds so was pleased to read this article. It suggests that kingfisher numbers are on the rise. In fact the number of kingfishers seen by members of the public has risen 217% between March and September. It seems the rise is because of the increase in water quality which means kingfishers are more able to hunt for their food. It is now estimated that there are between 4,800 and 8,000 breeding pairs across the UK so it might be worth looking out for one next time you are near a stream.

posted on Sunday, November 14, 2010 1:14:26 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, November 05, 2010

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According to this article October to early spring is a good time to get photographs of flocks of starlings. It seems the birds flock together before roosting at this time of year with sometimes up to 1 million birds being seen together. It certainly looks like an impressive sight I wonder where I might be able to see some in my local area.

posted on Friday, November 05, 2010 2:14:56 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, October 04, 2010

According to a survey published by the RSPB hedgehogs are spotted in 25% of UK gardens. The survey counted the number of birds and mammals in 70,000 gardens in June. Almost 30% of those who took part had seen hedgehogs in their gardens before. In rural areas almost half of people has seen hedgehogs in their gardens. The most frequent visitor to UK gardens is still the blackbird but other creatures such as roe deer and moles were also reported. It just goes to show how important the garden is for wildlife. I am yet to see a hedgehog in mine but we have a large population of foxes, and birds including woodpeckers, jays, blackbirds, a sparrow hawk, collared doves, robins and crows, just to name a few.

posted on Monday, October 04, 2010 10:11:27 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, September 29, 2010

_49200446_49198055 A Marsh Harrier has successfully bred in Cheshire for the first time. The bird which according to this article is rarer than the golden eagle is usually confined to the East Coast. Three chicks have recently been hatched at a secret location in the Gowy and Mersey Washlands. They have now left the nest and it is hoped they will return to the UK when they are around three years old. There are currently only around 360 breeding pairs of Marsh Harriers across the UK so its encouraging to see them nesting in Cheshire for the first time.

posted on Wednesday, September 29, 2010 10:05:40 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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According to this article the UK’s oldest arctic tern has been founds on the Farne Islands. The tern was originally caught and ringed on the islands in 1980 but has recently been spotted again 30 years later. It is thought the tern would have travelled around 1m miles so far in its lifetime and perhaps she will be go on to cover many more yet.

posted on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 10:53:30 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 29, 2010
 

We are lucky that we have lots of wildlife in our garden. I do my best to encourage more and tend to leave wild areas for the birds as well as leaving quite a lot of the fallen fruit on the floor for them to eat. I also tend to put food out for  them and am often surprised by the birds that come to the bird table. We have groups of crows and starlings that visit regularly but I was recently surprised by this group of jays that visited as I have never seen them in such large numbers. In all there were seven birds but they didn’t all land to feed.  I was, however, able to get a few pictures of some of them. Click on the images for bigger versions.

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Jays 1Jays2
posted on Sunday, August 29, 2010 10:37:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, August 16, 2010

21 Cranes will soon be released into the wild in an effort to reintroduce them into the British countryside. The bird has been absent from Britain for around 400 years with the last known sighting back in 1583. In April a clutch of eggs was shipped in from Germany and hatched at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire. The birds have been put through a realistic upbringing programme which has included being taught how to avoid predators. They have now been released into a temporary enclosure and are due to be released into the wild next month. The birds have been fitted with GPS satellite tracking devices so that they can be monitored after release to see how they get on.

posted on Monday, August 16, 2010 11:56:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, July 31, 2010

According to this article cases of poisoning of Scottish birds of prey at are the highest level for 20 years. This is despite efforts by the Scottish government to tackle wildlife crime. Conservationists are calling for tougher laws to help combat wildlife crime after the RSPB revealed a record number of poisoning cases against birds such as golden eagles and red kites last year. One idea is to make grouse moor owners legally responsible for attacks on birds of prey that happen on their estates. There were 46 proven poisoning incidents last year including the deaths of two golden eagles, four red kites, 21 buzzards and a sea eagle. The problem is caused by some gamekeepers targeting birds of prey because they eat game birds kept for private shooting.

posted on Saturday, July 31, 2010 9:34:03 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, July 03, 2010

In an effort to reintroduce sea eagles to Scotland 19 chicks have been flown in from Norway. They are being kept in a secret location until they are strong enough to fledge and be released. The programme to reintroduce the sea eagle began four years ago and so far there have been over 2,000 sightings of the birds in Scotland. It is thought there are now 46 breeding pairs in the area and around 200 individuals. The project has met with resistance from farmers and crofters who accuse the birds of stealing lambs and chickens but a recent report suggests the eagles have a minimal impact on lamb deaths. The Scottish Environment Minister believes the scheme is important to restore biodiversity and increase tourism.

posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 11:18:08 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, July 02, 2010

Purple-herons-breed-in-UK-003 According to this article a pair of purple herons have bred in the UK for the first time. The RSPB have been watching the birds in the Dungeness peninsula in Kent and have now confirmed that they are raising chicks in their nest. The birds usually breed in southern Europe although small numbers do visit Britain every year.

posted on Friday, July 02, 2010 8:55:49 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, June 28, 2010

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A rare feather has recently sold for a record amount at auction in New Zealand. The brown and white father is from a huia bird which has been extinct since 1907. It sold for NZ$8,000 that's around £3,800 making it the most expensive feather ever. The feathers were traditionally used as decorations by Maori chiefs. This one has belonged to a family who owned a number of Maori artefacts and has been verified as authentic by experts.

posted on Monday, June 28, 2010 9:13:55 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, June 22, 2010

_48037148_bustard A conservation project to reintroduce the great bustard to the UK appears to be meeting with some success as four chicks have hatched this year. The great bustard was hunted to extinction in 1832 but was reintroduced to Salisbury Plain six years ago. This is the second year that the birds have bred successfully in the wild so looks encouraging for the return of the species. The great bustard is the world’s heaviest flying bird according to this article, weighing up to 44lb and measuring 3ft tall. It is its size that made it such an easy target for hunters and so led to its extinction. The current project to reintroduce the species was launched in 2004 with birds being hand reared in Russia before being released in the UK. So far 104 birds have been released with seven known chicks being hatched so far.

posted on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 9:04:48 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, June 09, 2010

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Parrots in Australia have been falling out of trees with symptoms similar to drunkenness. Birds have been struck down with a mystery illness. They show signs similar to human drunkenness, losing all coordination before passing out. They then cower in their cages when they wake up and recover. The problem appears to be seasonal with most of the lorikeets recovering within a few weeks and falling ill again the same time the following year. So far nobody is sure what is causing the mystery illness although it is thought it might be down to a plant that they are eating.

posted on Wednesday, June 09, 2010 9:47:54 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, June 04, 2010

_47916297_alaotragrebechrisrose According to this article the Alaotra grebe has now been confirmed as extinct. The last sighting of the bird was in 1985. The species from Madagascar lived in Lake Alaotra. It is thought it has been killed off by a combination of poaching and predatory fish.  It is thought to be the first confirmed bird extinction since 2008.

posted on Friday, June 04, 2010 9:34:29 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, May 27, 2010

a-purple-heron-006 According to this article a pair of purple herons are nesting in the UK for the first time. The birds are more commonly seen in Europe, although they visit Britain in small numbers each year. The pair that have nested near Dungerness are currently being protected and it is hoped that they might be the first to successfully breed here. For now they are receiving round the clock protection with Kent police helping the RSPB to protect the nest. It will be interesting to see if they manage to hatch any eggs.

posted on Thursday, May 27, 2010 9:07:16 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 26, 2010

article-1278385-09926A0D000005DC-34_634x442 This is interesting its a cross between a chicken and guinea fowl. The rare hybrid was hatched in Defford, Worcestershire. Called a guin it is the result of an accidental union between a female hen and a male guinea fowl. The bird retains some of the characteristics of each of each parents but is unusual because it also has four wings. It seems the bird who has been named Tulip does not realise she is different from the other hens, however it is thought the cross breed is infertile so she may be sold at auction.

posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 12:40:41 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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In what seems to be rather unusual behaviour a swan has been pictured eating an eel. The picture was taken by a wildlife photographer who has been watching a pair of nesting swans. Mike Davies was lucky enough to get a shot of the male swan pulling the eel out of the water and eating it. It is not clear why this swan has developed a taste for eel as their more usual food is insects, molluscs, plants and small fish.

posted on Wednesday, May 19, 2010 11:25:34 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, May 06, 2010

article-1269406-01ECCD78000004B0-442_468x286 According to this article the number of goldfinches increased by 78% last year. The increase is largely being put down to the fact that people are starting to put out a new bird seed mix on their bird tables. The mix of nyjer seeds and sunflowers seeds seems to be increasingly popular with people who feed the birds. Luckily for goldfinches the mix is their food of choice as it is very similar to what they eat in the wild. It appears that this new food source has boosted the population and has also led to more sightings of goldfinches at garden bird tables. Based on this I might get some of this seed for the goldfinches in my garden or perhaps I might plant some sunflowers to encourage more of them to visit.

posted on Thursday, May 06, 2010 9:33:01 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Crane-chicks-set-for-rele-005 This cute little guy is one of eight crane chicks that have recently been hatched at a reserve in Gloucestershire. The eggs which have been brought in from Germany are part of a project to reintroduce a sustainable population of cranes in the UK. A batch of 18 eggs were driven back to the UK from Germany because the disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud meant they could not be transported by plane. So far 8 of the eggs have hatched  and the others are expected to hatch over the next week. Another batch of eggs will also be brought in as part of the project. The chicks will then be taught how to behave as cranes. Apparently as part of the training their human teachers will need to dress up as cranes to show them how to behave in the wild. I am looking forward to the update to this article that shows the lessons. If the project is successful they will be the first population of cranes in the UK since the 1600s when they died out due to hunting and loss of habitat.

posted on Wednesday, May 05, 2010 10:04:52 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 27, 2010

_47677571_crow_three_tool466

Scientists from the University of Auckland have shown another example of crows using complex problem solving techniques.  In previous experiments it has been shown that crows are somewhat smarter than the average bird. The latest research shows that they are able to work out how to use three tools in succession in order to get to a food source. In the diagram above the crow uses the string which is attached to perch (1) to reach the short stick attached to the string (2). The short stick is used to reach the long stick out-of-reach behind bars (3) and the out of reach scrap of meat (4)is eventually hooked out using the long stick. You can see the crows in action in the video in the original article. Crows have previously been know to craft their own tools in order to reach pieces of food that would usually not be accessible. The fact that they can use multiple tools to solve problems often on the first attempt shows that they are innovative problem solvers on the level of primates. I might start making some tests for the crows in my garden to see what they make of them.

posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:16:21 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 21, 2010
_47634161_bluetitgordonmccall466by300

This is interesting its a blue tit that has an unusually long beak. As you can see from the picture it is a normal blue tit in every other way but just has a rather long bill. The bird was spotted at a nature reserve in Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire where it has been visiting the reserves feeders for about a week. It does not appear to have any difficulties in feeding but it is thought the bill will continue to grow and that it will later impair it ability to feed and preen. I wonder whether the bird will find any ways to take advantage of its extra large bill, perhaps to open up other sources of food.

posted on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 8:29:47 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Migrating geese in Scotland will be fitted with tags to try and figure out whether wind farms pose a risk to birds. The Government wants to build hundreds of wind turbines off the cost of Britain within the next years but there are fears that migrating birds will crash into the turbines. Scientists have fitted solar powered tags onto barnacle geese and will track the birds as they migrate to the Arctic every summer. They hope that by plotting the exact routes and flying habits of the birds will help to decide where wind farms can be built so that less birds are harmed.

posted on Tuesday, April 20, 2010 10:23:54 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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According to this article ravens are starting to return to the south east. Ravens have not seen in any significant numbers in lowland England for nearly a hundred years. Ravens were driven out of lowland England by Victorian gamekeepers and have only been common in Wales, Scotland, the West Country and the Lake District. The decline of gamekeepers and the increased amount of road kill available as food has seen the birds spread east of the Welsh borders and they have now been spotted in the Midlands, Cheshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire Derbyshire and Sussex. I am yet to see any where I live in Kent but it seems we may soon be seeing a few more of these birds.

posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 9:23:13 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, April 09, 2010

Plucky_1607856cA lucky duck has survived a 500 mile journey trapped in the radiator grill of a van. The driver of the van hit a pair of ducks on a country road in Belgium. It was only when he stopped to inspect the damage at a service station on the M1 that he found one of the ducks was still trapped inside. The duck suffered a broken wing but it is thought he will make a full recovery.

posted on Friday, April 09, 2010 8:02:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, April 05, 2010

A lake in Leicestershire has had a number of unexplained duck disappearances. Stonebow Washlands in Loughborough, Leicestershire has seen numbers of duck fall dramatically in the area. Some local people have seen something dragging them under the water. It is not known what is eating the ducks but it is thought it might be a large pike or catfish or perhaps a mink. Local people have been warned not to let smaller pets swim in the lake and to stop children from pond dipping in the area.

posted on Monday, April 05, 2010 11:35:09 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, April 03, 2010

If you participated in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch then you might be interested in this article. It suggests that the number of small birds spotted in gardens has fallen as a result of the harsh winter. Numbers of coal tits were down 20% whilst goldcrests were down by 75%. More than 530,000 people took part in the bird watch which recorded more than 8.5 million birds. The results found a rise in some birds such as fieldfares, yellowhammers, redwings and bullfinches which are normally found in fields and hedgerows. Song thrushes and mistle thrushes were also seen in higher numbers. The top ten most seen garden birds were the house sparrow, blackbird, starling, blue tit, chaffinch, wood pigeon, robin, great tit, collared dove and goldfinch.

posted on Saturday, April 03, 2010 11:49:04 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, April 01, 2010

_47532894_female_osprey_swtlol20032009nm

A female osprey has returned to Scotland for her 20th consecutive year. The bird is thought to be the UK’s oldest breeding bird having nested every year for the past 20 years at the Scottish Wildlife Trust's (SWT) Loch of the Lowes wildlife reserve. At an estimated 25 years old she has reached three times the average lifespan of an osprey and is known to have laid 55 eggs and hatched 46 chicks over her lifetime. Staff at the wildlife reserve are now waiting to see whether she will lay any more eggs this year.

posted on Thursday, April 01, 2010 9:43:42 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, March 20, 2010

article-0-08B5FF80000005DC-275_468x373 This rare white puffin has been pictured off the British coast near Cornwall. The puffin was spotted among its more common black featured friends. It has a genetic mutation called leucism that dilutes the colour pigments unlike albinism which prevents melanin from forming.

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posted on Saturday, March 20, 2010 11:09:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, March 17, 2010

According to this article nearly 500 species of plants and animals have disappeared from in England in the last 200 years. A comprehensive audit of native wildlife has found that most of the disappearances have been largely down to human activities. They include species such as the great auk, a flightless seabird which did not exist anywhere else. The survey looked at records and specimens dating back 2,000 years. It found that all but 12 of the 492 species to vanish were lost after 1800. It seems that most of the extinctions are down to increased hunting and fishing, loss of habitat and climate change. The report has offered some encouragement suggesting that recent conservation efforts have been effective where they have been employed. For example the article highlights the red kite which although it had disappeared has now been reintroduced successfully and has numbers in the hundreds. Other species like the corncrake, ladybird spider, sand lizard and polecat are also starting to return which is encouraging.

posted on Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:54:59 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Predators of songbirds such as the magpie tend to get a bad press when it comes to looking at the reasons for the decline of songbirds. According to this article, however, they are not to blame. At a time when species such as the yellowhammer and bullfinch have dropped by half there have been calls for culls of predators such as magpies and grey squirrels which have seen numbers soar. A study of the relationship between songbirds and predators has found that rather than more causing a decline they are in fact a indication of a higher number of animals further up the food chain and a healthy overall population. For the majority of songbirds there is no evidence of a link between predators and songbird decline although it is acknowledged this might be an issue in some cases on a local level. In fact research indicated that factors such as woodland management, changing farming practices and urbanisation were more behind the decline in most cases.

posted on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:11:57 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, March 04, 2010

nuclear_bunker If you have a bit of spare cash and want to purchase something a bit unusual, then you might be interested in this nuclear bunker. Currently on sale on ebay the bunker is based in the Peak District and comes with a plot of land. It has panoramic views over the Derbyshire Dales and includes much of the original equipment. If you are interested the current bid is £24,100.25.

posted on Thursday, March 04, 2010 10:18:31 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Some lucky chickens in Norwich are having jumpers made especially for them. The chickens are former battery hens that have been brought by a rescue centre rather than being slaughtered. They now live at the Little Hen Rescue in Norwich whilst they are awaiting new homes. Unfortunately many of the hens are rather bald as a result of the intensive battery environment they have previously lived in, hence why they need jumpers. The jumpers are being kindly provided by a Somerset craft club who have been busy knitting to help keep the chickens warm. The Little Hen Rescue currently takes in around 4,000 hens at a time and cares for them until they are fit enough to find a new home. Around 10% of birds have lost their feathers so it seems there is a quite a demand for chicken jumpers.

posted on Thursday, March 04, 2010 10:10:57 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, February 24, 2010

eagle-beak-repaire_1579127c

A bald eagle with a broken beak has had it fixed in a rather unconventional way. The eagle had lost most of his beak after catching it in a fishing line. The resulting hole in his beak then stopped him from hunting. A dentist who was called in to help and filled the hole with putty which is usually used to fill holes in human teeth. He made it the right shape and size to fit the hole in the beak and although it is not thought the bird will return to the wild, he should now be able to survive in captivity.

posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 9:50:05 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, February 22, 2010

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A conservation project in Devon and Cornwall to help the cirl bunting is proving successful with numbers of the bird up 25% on 2003 levels. Under the project conservationists have been working with local farmers to manage land in such a way that provides food and a natural habitat for the birds. In 1989 there were just 118 pairs of breeding birds to be found in the UK but this has now risen to 862 in 2009.

posted on Monday, February 22, 2010 8:43:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, February 07, 2010

pheasent_1571556c A vicious pheasant has been terrorising the residents of a village in North Yorkshire. There have been reports of people being attacked and even trapped inside their homes by the bird which is creating problems in Newsham. It appears the pheasant is simply protecting what he has decided is his territory as the breeding season approaches. One thing is clear, however, this is not a a pheasant to be messed with.

posted on Sunday, February 07, 2010 1:56:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 11, 2010

The news has been full of snow related stories during the recent bad weather but this one deserves a mention for being one of the more unusual. It had never occurred to me that swans can get stuck on frozen lakes but it seems they can and do. This article highlights a case where a flock of swans had to rescued from a frozen lake by the RSPCA and some construction workers. The construction workers used their mechanical digger to break up the thick ice that has frozen around the birds. Although one swan died before they arrived the others were set free. It seems this is not an isolated incident with the RSPCA receiving around 100 calls reporting ducks and swans stuck on ice on ponds and lakes.

posted on Monday, January 11, 2010 9:50:20 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, December 23, 2009

According to this article feeding the birds can affect the way that they evolve. Scientists have carried out a study on blackcaps which has found that they follow a different evolutionary path if they spend the winter eating food people have put out for them. The birds normal wintering ground is in southern Spain where they would feed on the fruit that grows there but some birds are now wintering in the UK because they can survive on the food we leave out on our bird tables. Studies have found that those birds which do this are now in the early stage of forming a new species. As the UK is closer to the birds breeding ground these birds also return early and claim the better territory than those that winter in Spain. The researcher found that the two groups of birds have different chemical signatures and have formed two distinct populations even down to the fact that they only mate within their own group. There are also differences emerging in the birds beak, wings and plumage with the birds that winter in the UK having rounder wings and longer narrower beaks more adapted to eating seeds and fat from bird feeders. It will be interesting to revisit this story in the future to see whether they have evolved further.

posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2009 11:23:29 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, December 10, 2009

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This rather oversized robin was spotted at Plymouth’s Burrator Reservoir. Surprisingly despite his size he was able to fly. The good news is with his extra bulk he should be well placed to survive even the harshest winter as long as he is fast enough to evade any predators.

posted on Thursday, December 10, 2009 8:25:03 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, December 04, 2009

_46793883__46763088_-11-1 According to this article a programme to save a rare species of duck is proving rather successful. The Madagascan Pochard is so rare that it is thought that there are only 20 of them left in the wild. All of the remaining population are thought to live on just a single volcanic lake. Eggs were collected from the wild population and were hatched in captivity. In all twenty four ducklings were hatched successfully. These ducklings will later be released back into the wild and it is hoped that the captive breeding programme will double the number of pochards within the next three years.

posted on Friday, December 04, 2009 8:22:26 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, October 08, 2009

According to this article it could soon be legal to shoot parakeets. The birds have become very common in some parts of the country and there were certainly flocks of them in Egham when we used to live there. The problem is that the non native species eats much the same things as our native bird species and in some places have become so common that the native species are beginning to suffer. The birds have also been blamed for destroying crops with one vineyard owner losing enough grapes to make 3,000 bottles of wine in just a day. The London wildlife trust has criticised the proposed change because they say other birds such as green woodpeckers could be mistaken for parrots and might be shot in error. If the law is changed parakeets will join crows, gulls and magpies on the list of birds that it is legal to shoot if they have caused damage. Based on the fact that there are thought to be around 40,000 parakeets in the South East alone and some colonies have as many as 7,000 birds I think its time to go parrot shooting.

posted on Thursday, October 08, 2009 11:14:35 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, September 11, 2009

article-1212333-065BB883000005DC-172_468x305 Staff at a computer company in South Africa are using pigeons to transfer data between offices because it it quicker than broadband. They say that it takes six hours to transfer four gigabytes of encrypted data from Durban to their call centre 50 miles away. In contrast it takes a pigeon with a memory card attached to its leg, just an hour to make the journey. The pigeons do face some problems, however, such as getting eaten by predators on route.

posted on Friday, September 11, 2009 8:02:47 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 26, 2009

article-1206893-0613B437000005DC-846_634x432 This rare albino swallow was spotted in by Steve Copsey in Rhynie, Aberdeenshire. Apparently there is a one in 18,000 chance of a bird being albino making this little guy very rare.

posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:54:27 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 23, 2009

A re-colonisation programme hopes to reintroduce sea eagles to Scotland. Under the scheme a group of 14 chicks from Norway were reared in custom built aviaries in Fife . They have now released at the Tay estuary. The project which is now in its third year has already been successful in the west of Scotland and there are now thought to be around 200 sea eagles in the region. Last year 44 pairs of breeding birds produced 28 chicks so it looks like a good sign for the species.

posted on Sunday, August 23, 2009 12:15:34 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, August 21, 2009

I feed the birds everyday but have never considered that the bees also might need some food. According to this article gardeners are being urged to leave out energy drinks for tired bees to try and help the declining bee population. The RSPB has been inundated with calls reporting bees lying on the ground unable to fly. They recommend leaving out an egg cup filled with two tablespoons of sugar and a tablespoon of water so that tired bees can boost their energy levels.

posted on Friday, August 21, 2009 9:23:03 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 09, 2009

article-0-05E3F3A5000005DC-512_468x322This unusual albino blackbird was spotted by a bird watcher in South Wales.  Mr Jarman spotted the unusual bird in his garden and managed to get this picture of it. The bird which he nicknamed Snowy visited his garden for several months before it disappeared. Unfortunately with its unusual colouring it was probably picked off by a hungry pussy cat or other predator.

posted on Sunday, August 09, 2009 11:14:53 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, July 29, 2009

One of the best things about our new house is the large garden which is full of wildlife. On the day we arrived we discovered a hole at the bottom of the garden and were curious as to what might be inside. A few days later I came across a large fox sunning itself on the lawn and it now appears that we have a whole family of foxes. I have also noticed several squirrels and there are signs of hedgehog activity although I haven't actually seen one yet. We also have a variety of different birds. The most abundant appears to be the big fat wood pigeons and doves which sit in the tall trees surrounding the garden. I have also seen blackbirds, song thrushes, robins, green finches, coal tits, blue tits, great tits, wrens, crows, magpies, starlings, gold finches, woodpeckers, sparrows and some type of small hawk. As a keen birdwatcher I can see I am going to like it here. Once I have found where I packed the camera I hope to have some pictures of the wildlife so expect these to be posted shortly.

posted on Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:15:13 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, July 10, 2009

greefly_1434196c I have noticed a huge number of greenflies in my garden over the past few weeks and it appears I am not the only one. According to this article the recent hot weather has created the perfect conditions that’s the flies need to reproduce. The cold winter has also meant that many of the larger insects that eat the greenflies have been killed off. The insect explosion whilst it is not good news for gardeners like me is however, good news for garden birds that rely on insect numbers to flourish.

posted on Friday, July 10, 2009 7:44:12 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, June 25, 2009

According to this article a 2,500 bird’s nest has been found on a cliff in Greenland. The nesting site is used by gyrfalcons and includes three other nests all of which are more than 1,000 years old. Ornithologists discovered how old the nests were when they were trying to find out long the birds return to the same site. They used carbon to date the bird droppings and debris left behind and were surprised to find out how the nests actually were. One of the nests also contains feathers from a bird which would have lived more than 600 years ago.

posted on Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:55:19 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wild-Great-Bustard-chicks-001

According to this article a bustard has bred in the wild in Britain for the first time in 200 years. In fact three chicks have hatched at two sites on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. The exact spots are being kept secret in order to protect the bird but the news is the first sign that an reintroduction programme might be working. In 2004 forty chicks were brought to Britain from Russia to their new home on Salisbury Plain. Bustards, however, are slow to mature and the first known nest in 2007 produced infertile eggs. The presence of chicks is encouraging and there are hopes that the population will now be able to become self sustaining.

posted on Tuesday, June 09, 2009 8:11:36 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, June 03, 2009

PD*21139858 According to this article the cuckoo has featured of Britain’s list of endangered birds for the first time. The latest assessment of Britain’s native birds puts the cuckoo as one of 52 species which are now considered to be at risk. Numbers of the bird have fallen by as much as 37% in the last 15 years. Other birds on the list include the lapwing, tree pipit, wood warbler and yellow wagtail. Once common species such as the song thrush, house sparrow and starling have also seen a drastic decline mainly caused by loss of habitat.

posted on Wednesday, June 03, 2009 8:37:56 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, May 30, 2009

article-0-05168E69000005DC-686_634x656 This article is interesting it suggests that rooks are as intelligent as monkeys and that they are able to perform complex puzzles in order to source food. Four birds were given a puzzle with a small basket of worms inside a plastic tube. The worms were out of reach but the birds were also given a piece of straight wire. In each case the rooks bent the wire to make it into a tool and then used it to hook the basket of worms out of the tube. Unlike other animals which can learn how to solve a problem by using trial and error the rooks all solved the problem immediately despite never been shown how to do it. Researchers at Cambridge University believe that these results show that rooks have an intelligence to rival chimpanzees who are also able to craft tools using their hands.

posted on Saturday, May 30, 2009 11:36:29 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, May 29, 2009

According to this article £300,000 of taxpayers money was spent on research into finding out which kind of water ducks prefer. This hugely important and ground breaking research was carried out by Defra with the aim of making sure that ducks kept on farms are properly treated. During the three year study by Oxford University scientists offered the ducks different types of water including a trough, a pond, a shower and a nipple drinker. It was found that the ducks preferred standing under a shower and that they spent twice as long under the shower as they did in the other water.

posted on Friday, May 29, 2009 9:18:18 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, March 21, 2009

article-1162489-03EDE494000005DC-26_468x286 This picture shows what happened to one poor pigeon when he bit off a little more than he could chew. The pigeon must have at first considered himself to be very lucky when he found a whole bagel, however, it wasn't long before things when a little wrong and he ended up the bagel around his neck. As the pictures show the unfortunate pigeon was still able to fly but sadly unable to reach the bagel in order to eat it. article-1162489-03EDE477000005DC-53_470x369_popupThe pigeon is now likely to be stuck with bagel around his neck until it becomes wet and falls off, he might have a rather long wait for that meal.

 

 

 

posted on Saturday, March 21, 2009 2:23:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, February 22, 2009

090218-extinct-bird-photo_big This is the first and perhaps the last picture of a rare Worcester's buttonquail. The quail which is thought to be extinct was photographed for the first time before being sold for food at a poultry market. It seems that a TV crew had enough sense to photograph the bird but not enough to stop it from being eaten. It is possible the that the species may still exist undetected in other regions of the Philippines but for now the last known specimen appears to have become someone's dinner.

posted on Sunday, February 22, 2009 4:30:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sainsbury's have announced that they will stop selling eggs from battery hens making it the first of the big four supermarkets to do so. Under new EU legislation which comes into force in three years battery cages will be banned, but farmers will be able to use larger enriched cages. Sainsbury's, however, will do away with cages altogether and will also stop using eggs from cages hens in its own label food ranges. Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and the Co-op have already banned eggs from caged hen in their stores. I have been choosing eggs from what I call "running about chickens" for a long time because they tend to taste better, its good to know that only these eggs will be on sale in Sainbury's in the future.

posted on Tuesday, January 27, 2009 12:09:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, January 26, 2009

article-1125917-0320DC40000005DC-183_468x286 

I came across this picture today which likens the situation in one village to a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. The picture simply shows hundreds of pigeons which have descended on a village in the West Midlands. At one point there were so many that they turned the sky black as they landed. It is not known why there are so many of the birds but it is possible that it is due to the scarcity of food in the countryside during this years cold winter. Apparently they are no threat to people but they certainly look slightly menacing and they do remind of the movie The Birds.

posted on Monday, January 26, 2009 2:23:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sainsbury's will launch a new range of chickens that are kept in better conditions meaning that a third of its stock will no longer come from battery farms. It will also start phasing out chickens from battery farms completely so that all of its stock will meet RSPCA standards. Sainsbury's have said that sales of poultry reared in better surroundings were up 60 per cent since January so I wonder whether this move is simply in response to consumer demand for better quality chicken.

posted on Sunday, August 10, 2008 12:25:45 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, July 21, 2008

I have heard of firefighters rescuing cats from trees but this story was a little more unusual. Firefighters in Northampton were called out to rescue a bird from a tree. The crow had managed to get itself tangled in the branches and was stuck. The firefighters soon pulled him free and the crow is now recovering at the Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.

posted on Monday, July 21, 2008 8:35:42 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, June 28, 2008



I came across this picture again the other day. I believe I may have posted it before a long time ago, but it always makes me laugh. Its very typical cat behaviour to investigate everything even if it is much bigger and more scary themselves.
posted on Saturday, June 28, 2008 12:55:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, May 01, 2008

039robinDM_468x688 This resourceful robin laid her eggs in a hard hat in an electrical firm's warehouse. Staff found the eggs when they were clearing out some old equipment and decided to leave it to see if any chicks would hatch. Four eggs hatched out of original six that were laid and the mother is now busy flying back and forth with offerings of worms for the babies. Unusually the robin also chose the only red hard hat out of a row of 14, the rest being white.

posted on Thursday, May 01, 2008 6:50:16 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, February 12, 2008
At the risk of blogging about nothing but chicken, I came across this story about how Tesco has now managed to produce a chicken that costs only £1.99. Previously their cheapest chicken which cost £3.30 had been criticised for the poor conditions in which the birds were reared. I wonder what corners have been cut to produce this cheaper £1.99 chicken. Although Tesco have also increased orders for free range birds by 30% they have been criticised for this latest cut in costs. A spokesman for the National Farmers Union has said that Tesco are “devaluing the product and doing it at a time when, overall, the market is strengthening and chicken prices are rising”. He also said that unless Tesco were going to subsidise the cheap chickens that it was not a sustainable price. Tesco say that the price cut does not mean that welfare standards have been lowered and that its birds are “raised in the highest welfare environment”. The £1.99 chicken fared worse in a recent taste test carried out by The Daily Mail.

posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:47:55 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Further to my post about a possible shortage this Christmas it appears there could be further problems as bird flu has been discovered in Norfolk. It has been confirmed as the H5N1 virus and so far thousands of turkeys, geese and ducks have been slaughtered with a protection zone set up around the farm.

posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 2:00:42 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, November 10, 2007
We were watching a nature programme the other day about song birds which the cats really seemed to enjoy. Within minutes of the programme starting Ollie was sitting in front of the TV making what we call hunting noises at the birds. People who have cats will know what I mean by hunting noises but for those who don’t it’s a sort of high pitched clicking noise they make when they see a bird that they want to eat but that they can’t catch.

posted on Saturday, November 10, 2007 5:14:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 29, 2007
You might think hedgehogs are fairly common, but they have recently been added to a list of species that need protection. Among reasons why they are less common is the fact that tidier gardens and urbanisation are destroying their natural habitat. House sparrows are starlings are another two species that were previously very widespread but are now on the decline.

posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 9:33:57 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, August 17, 2007
A female golden eagle in the Scottish Borders has been poisoned. This crime is devastating to the species because this was the last breeding pair of Golden Eagles in the Scottish Borders. The pair also had a chick that they were feeding; it is now also unlikely to survive.

posted on Friday, August 17, 2007 7:34:49 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, August 11, 2007

The recent wet weather in the UK has managed to fool a zoo’s population of tawny frogmouths that it is monsoon season. As a result both of the zoos female birds laid eggs. The birds are from Australia and lay their eggs directly after the rainy season to ensure there is enough food for their chicks. Both eggs have now hatched to produce some cute fluffy chicks named Thunder and Storm.

posted on Saturday, August 11, 2007 2:13:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Most UK residents know that swans are protected. It appears that new arrivals to country, however, are unaware there is a law protecting them and are catching them for food. Polish and Lithuanian immigrants have been seen dragging the birds away. The remains of swans have also been found along the towpath in Leighton Buzzard.  Luton Angling Club has now come up with a sign which they hope will make it clear that swans are not for eating. Killing a swan is currently subject to a £5,000 fine and six months in jail.

posted on Wednesday, August 08, 2007 9:47:24 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, August 06, 2007

Two cygnets have been shot dead in Telford, by what is believed to have been an airgun. The cygnets were shot in the head and were thought to have been used as target practice. The RSPCA have said that these types of incident are more common during the school summer holiday.

posted on Monday, August 06, 2007 6:10:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, August 03, 2007

A lady in Devon tried to keep the swallows out of here barn by putting up a bird scaring owl. After two days the swallows had made their nest in the bird scarer. She is now resigned to the fact that the swallows are there to stay.

posted on Friday, August 03, 2007 8:30:38 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, August 02, 2007

Two moorhen chicks have been shot at a nature reserve in County Durham. The chicks were shot dead with an air gun at the Wingate Quarry Reserve. It’s thought that the incident might be related to youths drinking in the area.

posted on Thursday, August 02, 2007 5:11:44 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, August 01, 2007

We went for a walk along the Thames at the weekend to see how high the river was. Whilst we were there we came across this family of swans. They seem to be doing particularly well this year; usually they only have two or three cygnets, but as you can see this year there are four. As you can see from the photo the river has not yet burst its banks but is quite high for this time of year. The picture was taken at Staines.

posted on Wednesday, August 01, 2007 1:19:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, July 29, 2007

A pair of peregrine falcon chicks in Inverurie have died after being poisoned. It is not known who killed the birds but police are appealing for information. There are currently only around 1,285 breeding pairs of peregrine falcons in the UK. The species have long been persecuted by game keepers and pigeon fanciers because the falcons eat mainly small birds. The Scottish raptor group estimates that around a quarter of nests in Scotland are subject to interference and killing despite the fact that these birds are still greatly at risk.

posted on Sunday, July 29, 2007 3:53:31 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, July 26, 2007

A giant bustard has laid an egg in Britain for the first time since 1832. The birds are part of a program to reintroduce the great bustard to Britain using chicks from Russia. Although the eggs have not hatched it is still an encouraging sign that the species should be able to breed successfully in Britain.

posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007 4:46:33 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, July 20, 2007

A seagull in Aberdeen has developed a taste for cheese Doritos. The seagull has been nicknamed Sam. He walks into the newsagents when the door is open and steals the crisps but only seems to like the cheese flavoured Doritos. Once he is outside he rips the bag open and is joined by other birds that help him eat them.

posted on Friday, July 20, 2007 7:45:39 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, July 19, 2007

A pair of Montagu’s harriers nesting in Lincolnshire has successfully hatched three chicks. There are currently only around 10 to 14 pairs of these rare birds nesting in the UK so this could be good news for the species.

posted on Thursday, July 19, 2007 3:21:22 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, July 16, 2007

A pet macaw that flew away a week ago turned up a surprising 80 miles away from home. The macaw was spotted by a passing motorist and police later captured the bird and reunited it with its owner.

posted on Monday, July 16, 2007 7:40:43 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, July 15, 2007

Three osprey chicks in Aberfoyle have been weighed and tagged and at five weeks old appear to be doing well. The tags will allow the birds to be tracked if they return to Scotland to breed. This is the first year that three chicks have hatched in a year, so is encouraging news for Scotlands Osprey population.

posted on Sunday, July 15, 2007 11:28:26 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, July 12, 2007

It’s such a shame that while conservationists try so hard to protect our wildlife there are still ignorant people that are intent on wiping it out. The Peak District has recently seen two species of birds completely wiped out as a result of attacks on birds of prey. The Goshawk and the Peregrine Falcons that were breeding in the area have now been decimated. There were 17 recorded attacks on peregrine falcons in the last year in which female birds were shot dead and unfortunately this amounts to the whole breeding population of this fragile species. Birds dying of natural causes is one thing, but I can't understand why someone would want to wipe out a whole species in an area on purpose.

posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007 7:25:15 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, July 09, 2007

I watched a documentary about harriers the other day and the work going into breeding programmes. There are fewer than ten pairs of Montagu's harriers left in the UK and there are hopes that this particular pair in Lincolnshire will be successful.

posted on Monday, July 09, 2007 8:19:06 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, June 30, 2007

This chicken is raising three ducklings as her own after the eggs were abandoned by their natural mother. The duck who laid the eggs gave up incubating them after 21 days and the hen took over. She is now busy teaching them how to be chickens including how to scratch around for food.

posted on Saturday, June 30, 2007 2:30:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, June 15, 2007

I have been reading about this pair of Ospreys for a few weeks now to follow their progress. A few weeks ago the male Osprey found that his mate had mated with someone else and so destroyed all the eggs. She then laid another batch which were his and the first chick hatched on Thursday. Sadly, it appears that the male Osprey has now trampled on the chick and killed it whilst trying to free himself from some fishing line. Let's hope the other eggs hatch and there are no further incidents. They really are magnificent birds and with only about 130 pairs left in Scotland, they need all the help they can get.

posted on Friday, June 15, 2007 6:04:24 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, June 01, 2007

The RSPB has removed the word "cock" from its website as it has been deemed offensive. Apparently in todays society we are now unable to refer to male birds by their correct name. A cock robin must now be referred to as a male robin.

posted on Friday, June 01, 2007 1:38:14 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 28, 2007

A footpath in Lancashire has been closed after a pair of nesting eagle owls started attacking walkers. The owls are thought to be protecting their nest from intruders. Signs have also been put up to warn people they may come under owl attack whilst in the area.

posted on Monday, May 28, 2007 3:02:54 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We hear about people being mugged every day. This mugging story has an unusual twist. A student walking home was set upon by three vicious geese. In his haste to get away he dropped his mobile phone, which one of the geese promptly seized in its beak before making its escape. It is not yet clear whether this gaggle of geese have struck before or indeed how they intend to use the mobile phone with no hands. One thing is for sure no phones are safe when there is a goose on the loose.

A goose.

posted on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 4:15:38 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, May 07, 2007

These cute orphaned owls have a new mother in the form of a cuddly toy. They don’t seem to mind though cuddling up to the stuffed owl for warmth.

posted on Monday, May 07, 2007 12:08:50 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I found this interesting website. It requires you to log in but once you do, you can view the birds in the forest and move the camera around to view different areas.

posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 2:49:21 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, April 19, 2007

In other duck related news. A duck called Mr Peepers managed to survive getting run over by a car after a pet shop worker saved him leaving herself with broken bones in her foot and ankle.

A hotel in Devon ended up with a family of ducks living in their swimming pool after they took a liking to the heated water.

 

posted on Thursday, April 19, 2007 3:51:55 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Further to my post about Stumpy the four-legged duck poor Stumpy has now lost one of his legs after getting it caught in his pen. He still has one more leg than most other ducks though.

posted on Thursday, April 19, 2007 3:44:15 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pippa the cockatoo has been trying to hatch a bowl of Cadbury's cream eggs. After two weeks there is still no sign of any chicks.

posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 11:18:00 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why put penguins on a treadmill? To monitor their heart rate of course. As part of an experiment to see how much energy penguins use to find food a group of scientists first monitored ten penguins progress on a treadmill, so that their heart rates could be calculated. The penguins were then released complete with monitors so they could be studied in the wild. I feel sorry for the penguins, they don't look very happy.

posted on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 11:56:45 AM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] Trackback
# Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Meet Stumpy the four-legged duck. Stumpy has a rare mutation which means he has an extra pair of legs.

posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 12:31:27 PM (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback