7 birds to discover in your garden in lockdown
- Credit: Allan Drewitt
From Blackbirds to Long-tailed Tits, you’ll be surprised by how much wildlife you can discover in your garden.
And as lockdown continues, what better time to start a new hobby?
The British Trust for Ornithology lists seven birds to look out for in your garden.
"One species of warbler to look out for in your garden at this time of year is the Blackcap.
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"This stocky species is increasing as a winter visitor to the UK. They are well adapted to feeding in gardens and can sometimes be seen feeding on hanging bird feeders and bird tables.
"According to sightings from the BTO Garden BirdWatch survey, they tend to be seen in around 13% of gardens during February.
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"Males are grey with a Blackcap and females are grey with a brown cap."
Species information here: https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/gbw/gardens-wildlife/garden-birds/a-z-garden-birds/blackcap
"Reed Buntings are predominantly found in wetland areas and farmland.
"However, between February and April, the seeds that they usually feed on in these areas can become scarce.
"This is known as the ‘hungry gap’ in garden birds. Reed Buntings will visit gardens to supplement their diet with seeds from garden bird feeders.
"Take a look at this ID video to learn how to tell them apart from the sparrow species that visit gardens, https://www.bto.org/develop-your-skills/bird-identification/videos/bird-id-common-sparrows-reed-bunting."
"Long-tailed Tits are colourful little birds with a round body and a long tail.
"They tend to visit gardens in small groups, so listen out for their distinctive chattering calls as a flock arrives on your feeders.
"They especially like feeding on fat balls and small groups will often feed on the same feeder in unison before moving on to another garden.
"According to BTO Garden BirdWatch sightings, Long-tailed Tits tend to be seen in around 37% of gardens during February."
"Goldcrests are Europe’s joint smallest birds, and will sometimes visit gardens at that time of year, especially during periods of cold weather.
"As they only weigh around six grams, they need lots of energy to get them through the cold and short winter days.
"Therefore, look out for them feeding on energy-rich foods like fat balls in your garden.
"According to BTO Garden BirdWatch sightings, they tend to be seen in around 7% of gardens during February."
"Siskins are a small finch with dark streaks on the flanks.
"Males are a strike bird, with mixes of yellow, green, black and white. The females are less colourful, with a more washed out colouring and lack the black forehead of the male.
"According to BTO Garden BirdWatch results, you are most likely to see Siskins in March and April when their wild food becomes scarcer.
"Around 20pc of gardens have report Siskin during March.
"You have a better chance of attracting Siskins if you have food such as sunflower hearts and niger seed in your garden."
"Starlings are a widespread bird, being found in a variety of different habitats, however their numbers have been in decline for some years.
"This is thought to be because of changes in agriculture and the modernisation of buildings.
"They still remain one of the most commonly reported garden birds and your house may play host to their nests.
"As shown by BTO Garden BirdWatch results, more gardens report them in the spring as Starlings split into breeding territories, and once fledged the young Starlings, a drab-brown version of the adults, descend on bird feeders en masse."
"The Blackbird is one of our most widespread birds and so you almost certainly going to see a Blackbird in your garden at sometime or another.
"But did you know that Blackbird is a woodland bird that has made the move into gardens and as a result many gardens across the country now play host to a Blackbird nest or two during the summer months.
"Right now is a good time to see Blackbirds in gardens as those birds that arrived from the continent during the autumn are beginning to make their way back, while our resident birds are beginning to lay claim to their breeding territory - look out for duelling male Blackbirds over the next few weeks."
A spokesman from the British Trust of Ornithology added: "The BTO Garden BirdWatch runs throughout the year so anyone can count the birds in their gardens every week and help scientists at the BTO understand how they are faring, and it is free to take part. For more info please visit www.bto.org/gbw."