December, 2013

Wildlife

Wildlife
We're about more than just birds (though obviously we like them a lot).

Notes on nature

We love nature... from every little bug on a blade of grass to birds, butterflies, otters and oaks!
  • How well do you know your robin?

    Robins are everywhere at this time of year. But here are five facts you didn't know about this most familiar of garden birds:

    • Despite their appealing looks and cute demeanour, robins are feisty birds which often fight between themselves and are aggressive to other birds, particularly around food.
    • Both male and female robins are territorial in winter, and both can sing to repel would-be invaders.
    • Though people often report the return, year after year, of their loyal garden bird, the average robin lives for two years. But the longest-lived UK robin on record survived for more than eight years.
    • Robins and Christmas probably go back to when our posties wore red coats and were nicknamed robins.
    • Most of our robins don't move far from the place where they hatched. But a few of our birds head south for winter and ringed robins from the UK have been found in France and Spain. And birds from Scandinavia and eastern Europe may join us here for the cold months.

    Merry Christmas from the RSPB Web Team!

  • Monday's Magic Moment: deep and crisp and even

    It hardly feels like we're only a matter of days away from Christmas - it's been so mild. To get you in the spirit, admire Dean Bricknell's photo of a gorgeous snowy owl. It's from RSPB Images, where you can find thousands of other lovely images.

    These birds are very rare visitors to the UK, though they have bred occasionally. But over in Canada and the USA, wildlife watchers are enjoying a huge 'invasion' of snowy owls moving much further south and in greater numbers than usual.

    They are beautiful birds - just watch this video, taken in New Jersey a few days ago.

  • Monday's Magic Moment: Stars in the snow

    Starlings.

    Noisy and sociable they're a common sight in our gardens. And what with the huge flocks seen in some parts at this time of year, you'd be forgiven for thinking that starlings are doing rather well.

    This however masks the truth that the UK population has halved since 1995. Released today, the annual 'State of the UK's Birds' reveals the fortunes of our birds, both in the UK and its overseas territories.

    So here's a picture of some starlings in the snow. Despite the loss of half the population, you can help. One of the reasons for decline is lack of nest sites, so helping can be as simple as putting up a starling nest box.

    Starlings in the snow (image by Kaleel Zibe - www.rspb-images.com)

    This is one of thousands of wonderful nature images from RSPB images. Take a look and find one that makes you smile this Monday.