Bird Watch: Which Birds have you Spotted?
By Ash, Amenities Technician
We have all seen large changes to our daily lives over the past few weeks and it is as important as ever to remember the benefits that nature can have towards our health and wellbeing. Connecting with nature does not have to be limited to leaving the house, whether you have a large garden, a small lawn or even just a balcony there will always be some flora or fauna to look out for. Spring is a perfect time to watch birds in or around your garden as they begin to construct nests, feed young or return back from their winter migration.
As we move into May and the weather continues to warm, migratory birds will begin to arrive in larger numbers so keep an eye out for flocks of Swallows and House Martins. These birds are returning from their wintering grounds in Sub Saharan Africa and will be joined slightly later in the month by Swifts, Cuckoos and many other species looking to breed in the UK. Swift flocks can be an amazing sight as they zip around over built up areas looking for nesting sites and feeding. Swifts can be identified by their scythe shaped wings and by listening out for their distinctive high pitched ‘scream’ call as they soar above urban areas.
Although Cuckoos are unlikely to be seen or heard in most peoples’ gardens, those lucky enough to live in areas surrounded by moorland or farmland should definitely be listening out for the classic ‘Cuckoo’ call. For those of us unlikely to see a Cuckoo during the lockdown you can still keep up to date with their movements via the British Trust for Ornithology’s Cuckoo Tracking Project here: https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/cuckoo-tracking-project
While appreciating the variety of birds that might be visiting the local area during this period you might even get a surprise. Birds which do not normally occur in Britain that are also migrating back from Africa can over shoot mainland Europe and arrive on our shores. A Hoopoe on your lawn or a Bee-eater perched on an electricity wire are all possible if you are very lucky with some warm weather and a nice southerly breeze.
Be sure to share any photos, videos, questions and comments about the nature you have seen during lockdown with the RSPB’s #BreakfastBirdwatch social media campaign.