Spot the birds nesting in a tractor engine

PUBLISHED: 10:44 28 May 2015 | UPDATED: 10:44 28 May 2015

Bird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam Finch

Bird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam Finch


A tractor engine might not be your first choice when thinking of a place to raise a family.

Bird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam FinchBird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam Finch

However, a pair of birds at a west Norfolk wetland centre have done just that.

Staff at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Welney centre, near Wisbech, were surprised to find a pair of pied wagtails and their four chicks tucked into the engine of the reserve tractor.

Using the tractor to cut the reserve has temporarily had to be put on hold, but the chicks are almost ready to leave the nest now and will soon be learning how to fend for themselves from mum and dad.

Reserve warden Louise Clewley said: “I first noticed the adults had bills filled with insects so I knew they must have a nest nearby.

Bird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam FinchBird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam Finch

“I checked all the obvious places like the open-fronted nest box, in amongst the nettles and crawled around the trailer. “But I found that they had actually chosen the engine of the tractor.

“These small black and white birds have a habit of wagging their tail even when standing still.

“Visitors can normally get quite close to the pairs that nest along the bridge, unlike these guys who wanted to stand out from the crowd.”

Visitors can see birds feeding their young on the whole reserve, with house martins above the hide windows, great tits using traditional nest boxes and swallows inside the actual hides.

Bird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam FinchBird nesting in tractor: CREDIT WWT/Adam Finch

WWT Welney manages more than 300 acres of wetland habitat on and around the Ouse washes. These wetlands are internationally important for several species of wintering wildfowl and nationally important as summer breeding grounds. As reported, the centre has launched a new mission to film a year in the life of the Great Ouse Wetland. This project is part of the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership scheme and supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Have you found a bird nesting in an unusual place? Email


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