Birds

Credits: Robin - Steve Waterhouse

If you want to spot wildlife, birds are a good place to start. They’re everywhere – every tree, pavement and rooftop – you just can’t miss them! OK, so pigeons and crows might not be the pinnacle of bird-spotting, but they’re only the beginning…

More than 550 species of bird have been recorded in the UK. There’s so much choice in fact, that it’s hard to know what to look for first! So try tempting a few into the garden. Hang nuts, seeds and fat from trees or window ledges, and put food out on a table and a bird bath, and wait to see who comes along…

Chances are a robin might make an appearance, setting up a territory nearby. And look out for some other garden faves like woodpigeons, chaffinches, great and blue tits, and wrens with a song that seems far too loud to come from such a tiny body!

Or you could get out and about and look for flocks of birds like starlings wheeling through the skies at dusk, redwings and fieldfares taking flight from hedgerows, and geese flying in their classic v-formation. And if you’re really lucky, a night-time drive through the countryside might bring you into close contact with a swooping, ghost-like barn owl as it hunts its mouse prey.

The ancestry of our birds has long been debated – are they really descended from dinosaurs? The earliest known bird, the archaeopteryx, was about as long as a ruler and lived 150 million years ago. It had lots of reptile features, but also had wings and feathers (although some scientists think it didn’t manage much more than a hop and a flutter!).

 

Did you know?


Birds are warm-blooded and have to keep their eggs warm by sitting on them.