Thursday, 14 January 2010

Redwing regrets choosing UK for winter break

From the RSPB website (I'll take my own picture if he comes back!)

For the past few days a biggish, reddish bird has been flying around the neighbourhood. I have at last identified this as a redwing, a small thrush. These birds live in large numbers in northern parts, including Iceland, Scandanavia and Russia, and fly south for the winter. Hundreds of thousands usually winter in the UK. They must be regretting their choice this year.

They live out in the countryside, and only come into town gardens when there is snow lying on the fields. That explains my recent visitor. He will only get a drink of water and a bath here, I'm afraid. I keep the birdbath going all year round, but I don't feed the birds.

To feed birds properly is a responsible job, and I've read that you have to be reliable, or birds waste precious energy turning up for a meal when there is nothing being served. Any visitors here are welcome to scratch around in the leaves for insects - I leave the garden messy until the spring.

I do like my birds, I have to admit. I am not a fanatical twitcher, but I have identified 22 species in the garden. (The redwing made it 22.) This is not a bad haul, I think, given it's Colindale/Burnt Oak. I hope we don't lose any more green space around here, though, or it will soon not be worth our winter visitors' journey.

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