Blogger: Gena Correale Wardle, Community Fundraising Officer

I’ve recently moved house and now live at the top of a hill overlooking some of Norwich’s most iconic places. From my bedroom window I can now see the magnificent spire of Norwich Cathedral, home to the Norwich peregrines who had two chicks fledge recently. To the left I can see Carrow Road football ground, home of the canaries, Norwich City Football Club who have also seen some of its stars fledge recently, but let’s not dwell on that!

But the most exciting thing I can see from my new vista is not the famous birds of Norwich, but the garden birds living around my neighbourhood. As our new house is at the top of the hill, our upstairs windows are in line with the rooftops of the next street down, giving me unprecedented access to the secret rooftop lives of our garden birds. It’s like having my very own hide for the urban scenery!

Before now I only really saw our local birds at low level, sneaking peanuts out of the feeders or hopping on the grass in search of tasty morsels below ground. This new backdrop provides a totally different view of the life of our urban birds. Every morning I open my curtains with anticipation as to what will be out there, from blackbirds scrambling across the rooftops with beaks full of food for their chicks to a jay eyeballing me from the top of the orange blossom tree.

Swifts screeching was a common sound in my old house, but I very rarely saw them. Now I get to watch the soap opera of the swifts dashing in and out of their nests under the eaves of the Victorian terraces and really get to study them as they occasionally come to rest on the telegraph lines and rooftops. Their swirling sky dancing is almost hypnotic some mornings when I come to open my curtains, although the weather hasn’t exactly been favourable to them. I hope they have plenty of shelter in the rain.

My favourite new sight from my bedroom look-out has been the goldfinches which congregate in the fir tree next to my window. The fir seems to be popular with a lot of local birds, I’ve seen lots of juvenile great tits, sparrows and even some long tailed tits in there but the goldfinches are just magnificent. With their colourful markings they look like they are wearing little red masks and their movement is so sharp and swift, each bird is like a feathery Zorro. I wasn’t fortunate enough to have these birds in my previous garden and they are one of my favourite garden birds, so this feels really special, being able to spy on their life as they eat, preen and play with their mates in my fir tree.

I think sometimes we get complacent with our urban birds and forget to appreciate the amount and variety of wildlife we have on our doorstep. Why not take 10 minutes this week to sit and watch the birds – no need to count them or do anything for us – just enjoy them for your own pleasure, see what’s living in your neighbourhood and use your house as your own little wildlife watchpoint.

Photo: Gena - not your average urban birder